Interferon alpha enhances nk cell function and the suppressive capacity of HIV -specific cd8-t cells

Abena K.R. Kwaa, Chloe A.G. Talana, Joel N. Blankson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Current shock-and-kill strategies for the eradication of the HIV -1 reservoir have resulted in blips of viremia but not in a decrease in the size of the latent reservoir in patients on suppressive antiretroviral therapy (ART). This discrepancy could potentially be explained by an inability of the immune system to kill HIV -1-infected cells following the reversal of latency. Furthermore, some studies have suggested that certain latency-reversing agents (LRAs) may inhibit CD8T cell and natural killer (NK) cell responses. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that alpha interferon (IFN) could improve the function of NK cells from chronic progressors (CP) on ART. We show here that IFN-treatment enhanced cytokine secretion, polyfunctionality, degranulation, and the cytotoxic potential of NK cells from healthy donors (HD) and CP. We also show that this cytokine enhanced the viral suppressive capacity of NK cells from HD and elite controllers or suppressors. Furthermore, IFN-enhanced global CP CD8T cell cytokine responses and the suppressive capacity of ES CD8T cells. Our data suggest that IFN-treatment may potentially be used as an immunomodulatory agent in HIV -1 cure strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere01541-18
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019


  • Cd cells
  • HIV -1
  • Interferon alpha
  • Nk cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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