The role of CD4 T cells in immune system activation and viral reproduction in a simple model for HIV infection

Pooya Aavani, Linda J.S. Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


CD4 T cells play a fundamental role in the adaptive immune response including the stimulation of cytotoxic lymphocytes (CTLs). Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) which infects and kills CD4 T cells causes progressive failure of the immune system. However, HIV particles are also reproduced by the infected CD4 T cells. Therefore, during HIV infection, infected and healthy CD4 T cells act in opposition to each other, reproducing virus particles and activating and stimulating cellular immune responses, respectively. In this investigation, we develop and analyze a simple system of four ordinary differential equations that accounts for these two opposing roles of CD4 T cells. The model illustrates the importance of the CTL immune response during the asymptomatic stage of HIV infection. In addition, the solution behavior exhibits the two stages of infection, asymptomatic and final AIDS stages. In the model, a weak immune response results in a short asymptomatic stage and faster development of AIDS, whereas a strong immune response illustrates the long asymptomatic stage. A model with a latent stage for infected CD4 T cells is also investigated and compared numerically with the original model. The model shows that strong stimulation of CTLs by CD4 T cells is necessary to prevent progression to the AIDS stage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210-222
Number of pages13
JournalApplied Mathematical Modelling
StatePublished - Nov 2019


  • CTL response
  • HIV
  • Ordinary differential equations
  • Stability analysis


Dive into the research topics of 'The role of CD4 T cells in immune system activation and viral reproduction in a simple model for HIV infection'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this