HIV-1 infection may initiate to an HLA-associated response designated diffuse infiltrative lymphocytosis syndrome, characterized by increased numbers of circulating CD8 T cells that infiltrate salivary glands, lungs, gastrointestinal tract, and kidneys. Since this response could either be an antigenically driven process induced by HIV-1 or a lymphoproliferation of cells with neoplastic or unusual features, we sought to define the phenotype of the cellular populations, the nature of tissue derangement, and the tissue localization of virus in diffuse infiltrative lymphocytosis syndrome. Circulating CD8 T cells were greatly increased while CD4 T cell numbers remained in the range found in asymptomatic seropositive persons. The majority of CD8 and CD4 T cells in both blood and tissues had the memory phenotype of CD29+ (beta 1 integrin) and CD11a+/CD18 (beta 2 integrin) expression, but lacked markers of recent activation. A proportion of the circulating CD8 T cells also expressed CD57 (Leu 7) but not other markers of natural killer cells. HIV-encoded proteins were identified in tissue macrophages located in periacinar areas of the salivary glands. CD54 (intercellular adhesion molecule-1), a ligand for the CD11a integrin, was strongly expressed on postcapillary venule endothelium within lymphoid foci, and HLA-DR molecules were found on limited regions of ductular epithelium adjacent to lymphoid aggregates. These findings suggest that (a) the visceral lymphocytic infiltration in diffuse infiltrative lymphocytosis syndrome is an antigen-driven, and MHC-determined, host immune response to an element associated with HIV-1 infection, and (b) that the specific adhesive molecule interactions mediating the cellular influx, as well as the subsequent tissue damage, reflect altered patterns of gene expression in tissues undergoing an immune response.
S Itescu, J Dalton, H Z Zhang, R Winchester