age of all participants was 37 years (IQR 35–48 years) and most were men (81%). No difference in gender distribution was observed between the groups for the leprosy and co-infected groups. Most patients had paucibacillary presentation at the time of diagnosis for both leprosy groups. Our results demonstrated that healthy controls had higher CD4+ T-cell counts (median 917 cells/mm3, IQR 687–1170) when compared with HIV-1-infected patients (median 391 cells/mm3, IQR 272–536) and co-infected patients www.selleckchem.com/products/abt-199.html (median 285 cells/mm3, IQR 235–480), P < 0.001. Leprosy patients had higher numbers of CD4+ T cells (median 733 cells mm3, IQR 699–870) when compared with co-infected patients (P < 0.001). For CD8+ T-cell counts, healthy controls (median 556 cells/mm3, IQR 376–735) had lower numbers when compared with co-infected patients (median 806 cells/mm3, IQR 578–1548), P < 0.05 (Table 1). The NKT cells represent a subset of lymphocytes, defined operationally as bearing both the T-cell receptor and the NK cell marker CD161 (NK1.1 in mice).19 We defined selleck NKT cells as those with the CD3+ Vα24+ Vβ11+ phenotype (Fig. 1a), and further subdivided NKT cell subsets using CD4, CD161 and HLA-DR. The gating strategy enabled
delineation of CD4+ NKT subsets (Fig. 1b). Because of the variability of NKT cell frequencies and limitations of available PBMC, data
were included in this study if > 30 events were collected within the NKT gate. Berzins et al.20 reported an NKT cell frequency in adult blood ranging from 0.006 to 0.78%. Farnesyltransferase Our results demonstrated that the healthy controls had more NKT cells in the peripheral blood (median 0.077%, IQR 0.032–0.405) than co-infected patients (median 0.022%, IQR 0.007–0.051), P < 0.01. Co-infected patients also had fewer NKT cells when compared with HIV-1-infected patients (median 0.072%, IQR 0.030–0.160), P < 0.05 (Fig. 2a). The CD4 molecule distinguishes two phenotypic and functionally distinct subsets of NKT cells. CD4+ NKT cells were found to produce both T helper type 1 and type 2 cytokines, whereas CD4− NKT cells mainly produce T helper type 1 cytokines.21,22 In peripheral blood from healthy adult volunteers, close to 50% of NKT cells are CD4− with no, or low, expression of CD8.23 We observed that leprosy patients have more CD4+ CD161+ HLA-DR– NKT cells (median 21.40%, IQR 3.65–59.95) compared with HIV-1-infected patients (median 0.375, IQR 0.00–19.30), P < 0.05 (Fig. 2b), but this was not statistically different from healthy controls or co-infected patients. We used CD161 and HLA-DR as activation markers to determine the activation profile of NKT cells.