Regulatory B cell frequency correlates with markers of HIV disease progression and attenuates anti-HIV CD8+ T cell function in vitro

Basile Siewe, Jack T. Stapleton, Jeffrey Martinson, Ali Keshavarzian, Nazia Kazmi, Patricia M. Demarais, Audrey L. French, Alan Landay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


HIV infection is associated with elevated expression of IL-10 and PD-L1, contributing to impairment of T cell effector functions. In autoimmunity, tumor immunology, and some viral infections, Bregs modulate T cell function via IL-10 production. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that during HIV infection, Bregs attenuate CD8+ T cell effector function, contributing to immune dysfunction. We determined that in vitro, TLR2-, TLR9-, and CD40L-costimulated Bregs from HIV- individuals exhibited a high frequency of cells expressing IL-10 and PD-L1. Compared with Bregs from HIV+ individuals, a significantly higher percentage of Bregs from HIV+ individuals spontaneously expressed IL-10 (P=0.0218). After in vitro stimulation with HIV peptides, Breg-depleted PBMCs from HIV+ individuals exhibited a heightened frequency of cytotoxic (CD107a+; P=0.0171) and HIVspecific CD8+ T cells compared with total PBMCs. Furthermore, Breg depletion led to enhanced proliferation of total CD8+ and CD107a+CD8+ T cells (P=0.0280, and P=0.0102, respectively). In addition, augmented CD8+ T cell effector function in vitro was reflected in a 67% increased clearance of infected CD4+ T cells. The observed Breg suppression of CD8+ T cell proliferation was IL-10-dependent. In HIV+ individuals, Breg frequency correlated positively with viral load (r=0.4324; P=0.0095), immune activation (r=0.5978; P=0.0005), and CD8+ T cell exhaustion (CD8+PD-1+; r=0.5893; P=0.0101). Finally, the frequency of PD-L1-expressing Bregs correlated positively with CD8+PD-1+ T cells (r=0.4791; P=0.0443). Our data indicate that Bregs contribute to HIV-infection associated immune dysfunction by T cell impairment, via IL-10 and possibly PD-L1 expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)811-818
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Leukocyte Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • IL-10
  • Immune activation
  • Immune exhaustion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Cell Biology


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