Macrophages are accessory cells that are vulnerable to infection by HIV-1. HTLV-III B, a lymphotropic strain of HIV, infects macrophages poorly resulting in either no or low levels of virus expression compared to high levels of productive infection after exposure of macrophages to the monocytotropic HIV strain Ada-M. Whether this results in an impaired ability of HTLV-III B-exposed macrophages to initiate protective cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) immune responses against these strains is not well defined. We investigated the ability of monocyte-derived macrophages (MDM) exposed to lymphotropic and monocytotropic HIV strains to initiate primary CTL responses in vitro. MDM exposed to HTLV-III B induced a specific primary CTL response that was comparable to MDM exposed to the monocytotropic strain Ada-M despite marked differences in productive HIV infection in MDM between the two strains. CTL generated in this model were MHC-restricted, strain-specific, and CD8 +. These data demonstrate that high levels of productive HIV infection in accessory cells are not a prerequisite for the generation of a primary CTL response, suggesting a novel immunologic interaction between MDM and lymphotropic HIV strains.
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