Human herpesvirus 8 cellular immune responses in homosexual men

Howard D. Strickler, James J. Goedert, F. R. Bethke, C. M. Trubey, Thomas R. O'Brien, Joel Palefsky, James E. Whitman, Dharam Ablashi, Steven Zeichner, Gene M. Shearer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Little is known about cellular immunity to human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8), the virus associated with Kaposi's sarcoma (KS). T cell proliferative responses to purified HHV-8 were measured in homosexual men, a group with elevated HHV-8 seroprevalence and high risk of KS. None of 20 blood donor controls had T cell responses to HHV-8. Among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-negative homosexual men, 8 (42%) of 19 HHV-8 seropositive men responded as did 4 (16%) of 25 HHV-8 seronegative men. Among HIV-positive homosexual men, however, none of 21 HHV-8 seropositives had T cell responses to HHV-8, even though most responded to common recall antigens, and 10 had ≥400 CD4 cells/mm3. The results suggest that HHV-8 T cell proliferative responses are common in HIV-negative homosexual men and that HIV infection may be associated with diminished HHV-8 cellular immunity, possibly before there is substantial depletion of CD4 cells. If correct, this could explain why KS occurs relatively early in HIV infection/AIDS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1682-1685
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Infectious Diseases


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