Elevated CD54 Expression Renders CD4+ T Cells Susceptible to Natural Killer Cell-Mediated Killing
Chen X., Chen H., Zhang Z., Fu Y., Han X., Zhang Y., Xu J., Ding H., Cui H., Dong T., Shang H., Jiang Y.
Abstract Background Natural killer (NK) cells are an important type of effector cell in the innate immune response, and also have a role in regulation of the adaptive immune response. Several studies have indicated that NK cells may influence CD4+ T cells during HIV infection. Methods In total, 51 HIV-infected individuals and 15 healthy controls participated in this study. We performed the flow cytometry assays and real-time PCR for the phenotypic analysis and the functional assays of NK cell-mediated deletion of CD4+ T cells, phosphorylation of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB/p65) and the intervention of metformin. Results Here we detected high CD54 expression on CD4+ T cells in HIV-infected individuals, and demonstrate that upregulated CD54 is associated with disease progression in individuals infected with HIV. We also show that CD54 expression leads to the deletion of CD4+ T cells by NK cells in vitro, and that this is modulated by NF-κB/p65 signaling. Further, we demonstrate that metformin can suppress CD54 expression on CD4+ T cells by inhibiting NF-κB/p65 phosphorylation. Conclusions Our data suggest that further studies to evaluate the potential role of metformin as adjunctive therapy to reconstitute immune function in HIV-infected individuals are warranted.