A rare subset of HIV-infected individuals, designated viremic non-progressors (VNP), remain asymptomatic and maintain normal levels of CD4+ T-cells despite persistently high viremia. To identify mechanisms potentially responsible for the VNP phenotype, we compared VNPs (average >9 years of HIV infection) to HIV-infected individuals who have similar CD4+ T-cell counts and viral load, but who are likely to progress if left untreated ("putative progressors", PP), thus avoiding the confounding effect of differences related to substantial CD4+ T cell depletion. We found that VNPs, compared to PPs, had preserved levels of CD4+ stem cell memory cells (TSCM (p<0.0001), which was associated with decreased HIV infection of these cells in VNPs (r?=?-0.649, p?=?0.019). In addition, VNPs had decreased HIV infection in CD4+ central memory (TCM) cells (p?=?0.035), and the total number of TCM cells was associated with increased proliferation of memory CD4+ T cells (r?=?0.733, p?=?0.01). Our results suggest that, in HIV-infected VNPs, decreased infection of CD4+ TCM and TSCM, cells are involved in preservation of CD4+ T cell homeostasis and lack of disease progression despite high viremia.
African green monkeys (AGMs; genus Chlorocebus) are a natural host of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIVAGM). As they do not develop simian AIDS, there is great interest in understanding how this species has evolved to avoid immunodeficiency. Adult African green monkeys naturally have low numbers of CD4 T cells and a large population of major histocompatibility complex class II-restricted CD8?(dim) T cells that are generated through CD4 downregulation in CD4(+) T cells. Mechanisms that drive this process of CD4 downregulation are unknown. Here, we show that juvenile AGMs accelerate CD4-to-CD8?? conversion upon SIV infection and avoid progression to AIDS. The CD4 downregulation induced by SIV infection is not limited to SIV-specific T cells, and vaccination of an adult AGM who had a negligible number of CD4 T cells demonstrated that CD4 downregulation can occur without antigenic exposure. Finally, we show that the T cell homeostatic cytokines interleukin-2 (IL-2), IL-7, and IL-15 can induce CD4 downregulation in vitro. These data identify a mechanism that allows AGMs to generate a large, diverse population of T cells that perform CD4 T cell functions but are resistant to SIV infection. A better understanding of this mechanism may allow the development of treatments to induce protective CD4 downregulation in humans.
The viral accessory protein Vpx, expressed by certain simian and human immunodeficiency viruses (SIVs and HIVs), is thought to improve viral infectivity of myeloid cells. We infected 35 Asian macaques and African green monkeys with viruses that do or do not express Vpx and examined viral targeting of cells in vivo. While lack of Vpx expression affected viral dynamics in vivo, with decreased viral loads and infection of CD4? T cells, Vpx expression had no detectable effect on infectivity of myeloid cells. Moreover, viral DNA was observed only within myeloid cells in tissues not massively depleted of CD4? T cells. Myeloid cells containing viral DNA also showed evidence of T cell phagocytosis in vivo, suggesting that their viral DNA may be attributed to phagocytosis of SIV-infected T cells. These data suggest that myeloid cells are not a major source of SIV in vivo, irrespective of Vpx expression.
A major barrier to the elimination of HIV-1 infection is the presence of a pool of long-lived, latently infected CD4+ memory T-cells. The search for treatments to re-activate latent HIV to aid in clearance is hindered by the incomplete understanding of the mechanisms that lead to transcriptional silencing of viral gene expression in host cells. Here we identify a previously unknown role for RUNX1 in HIV-1 transcriptional latency. The RUNX proteins, in combination with the co-factor CBF-?, are critical transcriptional regulators in T-cells. RUNX1 strongly modulates CD4 expression and contributes to CD4+ T-cell function. We show that RUNX1 can bind DNA sequences within the HIV-1 LTR and that this binding represses transcription. Using patient samples we show a negative correlation between RUNX1 expression and viral load. Furthermore, we find that pharmacologic inhibition of RUNX1 by a small molecule inhibitor, Ro5-3335, synergizes with the histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor SAHA (Vorinostat) to enhance the activation of latent HIV-1 in both cell lines and PBMCs from patients. Our findings indicate that RUNX1 and CBF-? cooperate in cells to modulate HIV-1 replication, identifying for the first time RUNX1 as a cellular factor involved in HIV-1 latency. This work highlights the therapeutic potential of inhibitors of RUNX1 to re-activate virus and aid in clearance of HIV-1.
Programmed Death 1 (PD-1) expression by human/simian immunodeficiency virus (HIV/SIV)-specific CD8 T cells has been associated with defective cytokine production and reduced in vitro proliferation capacity. However, the cellular mechanisms that sustain PD-1(high) virus-specific CD8 T cell responses during chronic infection are unknown. Here, we show that the PD-1(high) phenotype is associated with accelerated in vivo CD8 T cell turnover in SIV-infected rhesus macaques, especially within the SIV-specific CD8 T cell pool. Mathematical modeling of 5-bromo-2 deoxyuridine (BrdU) labeling dynamics demonstrated a significantly increased generation rate of PD-1(high) compared to PD-1(low) CD8 T cells in all memory compartments. Simultaneous analysis of Ki67 and BrdU kinetics revealed a complex in vivo turnover profile whereby only a small fraction of PD-1(high) cells, but virtually all PD-1(low) cells, returned to rest after activation. Similar kinetics operated in both chronic and acute SIV infection. Our data suggest that the persistence of PD-1(high) SIV-specific CD8 T cells in chronic infection is maintained in vivo by a mechanism involving high production coupled with a high disappearance rate.
The commensal flora can promote both immunity to pathogens and mucosal inflammation. How commensal-driven inflammation is regulated in the context of infection remains poorly understood. Here, we show that during acute mucosal infection of mice with Toxoplasma gondii, inflammatory monocytes acquire a tissue-specific regulatory phenotype associated with production of the lipid mediator prostaglandin E2 (PGE2). Notably, in response to commensals, inflammatory monocytes can directly inhibit neutrophil activation in a PGE2-dependent manner. Further, in the absence of inflammatory monocytes, mice develop severe neutrophil-mediated pathology in response to pathogen challenge that can be controlled by PGE2 analog treatment. Complementing these findings, inhibition of PGE2 led to enhanced neutrophil activation and host mortality after infection. These data demonstrate a previously unappreciated dual action of inflammatory monocytes in controlling pathogen expansion while limiting commensal-mediated damage to the gut. Collectively, our results place inflammatory monocyte-derived PGE2 at the center of a commensal-driven regulatory loop required to control host-commensal dialog during pathogen-induced inflammation.
During HIV/SIV infection, mucosal immune system dysfunction and systemic immune activation are associated with progression to AIDS; however, it is unclear to what extent pre-existing gastrointestinal damage relates to disease progression postinfection. Pigtail macaques (PTM) are an excellent model in which to assess mucosal dysfunction in relation to HIV/SIV pathogenesis, as the majority of these animals have high levels of gastrointestinal damage, immune activation, and microbial translocation prior to infection, and rapidly progress to AIDS upon SIV infection. In this study, we characterized the mucosal immune environment prior to and throughout SIV infection in 13 uninfected PTM and 9 SIV-infected PTM, of which 3 were slow progressors. This small subset of slow progressors had limited innate immune activation in mucosal tissues in the periphery, which was associated with a more intact colonic epithelial barrier. Furthermore, we found that preinfection levels of microbial translocation, as measured by LPS-binding protein, in PTM correlated with the rate of progression to AIDS. These data suggest that pre-existing levels of microbial translocation and gastrointestinal tract dysfunction may influence the rate of HIV disease progression.
HIV infection results in gastrointestinal (GI) tract damage, microbial translocation, and immune activation, which are not completely ameliorated with suppression of viremia by antiretroviral (ARV) therapy. Furthermore, increased morbidity and mortality of ARV-treated HIV-infected individuals is associated with these dysfunctions. Thus, to enhance GI tract physiology, we treated SIV-infected pigtail macaques with ARVs, probiotics, and prebiotics or with ARVs alone. This synbiotic treatment resulted in increased frequency and functionality of GI tract APCs, enhanced reconstitution and functionality of CD4+ T cells, and reduced fibrosis of lymphoid follicles in the colon. Thus, ARV synbiotic supplementation in HIV-infected individuals may improve GI tract immunity and thereby mitigate inflammatory sequelae, ultimately improving prognosis.
Long-lived memory T cells are able to persist in the host in the absence of antigen; however, the mechanism by which they are maintained is not well understood. Recently, a subset of human T cells, stem cell memory T cells (TSCM cells), was shown to be self-renewing and multipotent, thereby providing a potential reservoir for T cell memory throughout life. However, their in vivo dynamics and homeostasis still remain to be defined due to the lack of suitable animal models. We identified T cells with a TSCM phenotype and stem cell-like properties in nonhuman primates. These cells were the least-differentiated memory subset, were functionally distinct from conventional memory cells, and served as precursors of central memory. Antigen-specific TSCM cells preferentially localized to LNs and were virtually absent from mucosal surfaces. They were generated in the acute phase of viral infection, preferentially survived in comparison with all other memory cells following elimination of antigen, and stably persisted for the long term. Thus, one mechanism for maintenance of long-term T cell memory derives from the unique homeostatic properties of TSCM cells. Vaccination strategies designed to elicit durable cellular immunity should target the generation of TSCM cells.
Pigtail macaques (PTM) are an excellent model for HIV research; however, the dynamics of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) SIVmac239 infection in PTM have not been fully evaluated. We studied nine PTM prior to infection, during acute and chronic SIVmac239 infections, until progression to AIDS. We found PTM manifest clinical AIDS more rapidly than rhesus macaques (RM), as AIDS-defining events occurred at an average of 42.17 weeks after infection in PTM compared to 69.56 weeks in RM (P = 0.0018). However, increased SIV progression was not associated with increased viremia, as both peak and set-point plasma viremias were similar between PTM and RM (P = 0.7953 and P = 0.1006, respectively). Moreover, this increased disease progression was not associated with rapid CD4(+) T cell depletion, as CD4(+) T cell decline resembled other SIV/human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) models. Since immune activation is the best predictor of disease progression during HIV infection, we analyzed immune activation by turnover of T cells by BrdU decay and Ki67 expression. We found increased levels of turnover prior to SIV infection of PTM compared to that observed with RM, which may contribute to their increased disease progression rate. These data evaluate the kinetics of SIVmac239-induced disease progression and highlight PTM as a model for HIV infection and the importance of immune activation in SIV disease progression.
HIV infection is characterized by immune system dysregulation, including depletion of CD4+ T cells, immune activation, and abnormal B- and T-cell responses. However, the immunologic mechanisms underlying lymphocytic dysfunctionality and whether it is restricted to immune responses against neo antigens, recall antigens, or both is unclear. Here, we immunized SIV-infected and uninfected rhesus macaques to induce immune responses against neo and recall antigens using a Leishmania major polyprotein (MML) vaccine given with poly-ICLC adjuvant. We found that vaccinated SIVuninfected animals induced high frequencies of polyfunctional MML-specific CD4+ T cells. However, in SIV-infected animals, CD4+ T-cell functionality decreased after both neo (P = .0025) and recall (P = .0080) MML vaccination. Furthermore, after SIV infection, the frequency of MML-specific antibody-secreting classic memory B cells was decreased compared with vaccinated, SIV-uninfected animals. Specifically, antibody-secreting classic memory B cells that produced IgA in response to either neo (P = .0221) or recall (P = .0356) MML vaccinations were decreased. Furthermore, we found that T-follicular helper cells, which are essential for priming B cells, are preferentially infected with SIV. These data indicate that SIV infection results in dysfunctional T-cell responses to neo and recall vaccinations, and direct SIV infection of T-follicular helper cells, both of which probably contribute to deficient B-cell responses and, presumably, susceptibility to certain opportunistic infections.
CD4+ T cells play a central role in the immunopathogenesis of HIV/AIDS, and their depletion during chronic HIV infection is a hallmark of disease progression. However, the relative contribution of CD4+ T cells as mediators of antiviral immune responses and targets for virus replication is still unclear. Here, we have generated data in SIV-infected rhesus macaques (RMs) that suggest that CD4+ T cells are essential in establishing control of virus replication during acute infection. To directly assess the role of CD4+ T cells during primary SIV infection, we in vivo depleted these cells from RMs prior to infecting the primates with a pathogenic strain of SIV. Compared with undepleted animals, CD4+ lymphocyte-depleted RMs showed a similar peak of viremia, but did not manifest any post-peak decline of virus replication despite CD8+ T cell- and B cell-mediated SIV-specific immune responses comparable to those observed in control animals. Interestingly, depleted animals displayed rapid disease progression, which was associated with increased virus replication in non-T cells as well as the emergence of CD4-independent SIV-envelopes. Our results suggest that the antiviral CD4+ T cell response may play an important role in limiting SIV replication, which has implications for the design of HIV vaccines.
Evolution of the env gene in transmitted R5-tropic human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) strains is the most widely accepted mechanism driving coreceptor switching. In some infected individuals, however, a shift in coreceptor utilization can occur as a result of the reemergence of a cotransmitted, but rapidly controlled, X4 virus. The latter possibility was studied by dually infecting rhesus macaques with X4 and R5 chimeric simian simian/human immunodeficiency viruses (SHIVs) and monitoring the replication status of each virus using specific primer pairs. In one of the infected monkeys, both SHIVs were potently suppressed by week 12 postinoculation, but a burst of viremia at week 51 was accompanied by an unrelenting loss of total CD4+ T cells and the development of clinical disease. PCR analyses of plasma viral RNA indicated an env gene segment containing the V3 region from the inoculated X4 SHIV had been transferred into the genetic background of the input R5 SHIV by intergenomic recombination, creating an X4 virus with novel replicative, serological, and pathogenic properties. These results indicate that the effects of retrovirus recombination in vivo can be functionally profound and may even occur when one of the recombination participants is undetectable in the circulation as cell-free virus.
Virus-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) with high levels of functional avidity have been associated with viral clearance in hepatitis C virus infection and with enhanced antiviral protective immunity in animal models. However, the role of functional avidity as a determinant of HIV-specific CTL efficacy remains to be assessed. Here we measured the functional avidities of HIV-specific CTL responses targeting 20 different, optimally defined CTL epitopes restricted by 13 different HLA class I alleles in a cohort comprising 44 HIV controllers and 68 HIV noncontrollers. Responses restricted by HLA-B alleles and responses targeting epitopes located in HIV Gag exhibited significantly higher functional avidities than responses restricted by HLA-A or HLA-C molecules (P = 0.0003) or responses targeting epitopes outside Gag (P < 0.0001). The functional avidities of Gag-specific and HLA-B-restricted responses were higher in HIV controllers than in noncontrollers (P = 0.014 and P = 0.018) and were not restored in HIV noncontrollers initiating antiretroviral therapy. T-cell receptor (TCR) analyses revealed narrower TCR repertoires in higher-avidity CTL populations, which were dominated by public TCR sequences in HIV controllers. Together, these data link the presence of high-avidity Gag-specific and HLA-B-restricted CTL responses with viral suppression in vivo and provide new insights into the immune parameters that mediate spontaneous control of HIV infection.
Many species of African nonhuman primates are natural hosts for individual strains of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV). These infected animals do not, however, develop AIDS. Here we show that multiple species of African nonhuman primate species characteristically have low frequencies of CD4(+) T cells and high frequencies of both T cells that express only the alpha-chain of CD8 and double-negative T cells. These subsets of T cells are capable of eliciting functions generally associated with CD4(+) T cells, yet these cells lack surface expression of the CD4 protein and are, therefore, poor targets for SIV in vivo. These data demonstrate that coevolution with SIV has, in several cases, involved downregulation of receptors for the virus by otherwise-susceptible host target cells. Understanding the genetic factors that lead to downregulation of these receptors may lead to therapeutic interventions that mimic this modulation in progressive infections.
The host immune system is profoundly affected during the acute phase of progressive immunodeficiency lentiviral infections. Studies of these alterations have been quite restricted in humans because of the limited availability of samples from acutely HIV-infected persons. Therefore, numerous studies have turned attention to nonhuman primate models. Specifically, SIV-infected rhesus macaques (RMs) have been informative for understanding the pathogenesis of HIV infection in humans. Indeed, advantages of the nonhuman primate model include the ability to study the very early events after infection and the ability to retrieve copious amounts of tissues. In addition, nonhuman primates allow for comparative studies between non-natural and natural hosts for SIV, in which SIV infection results in progression, or not, to AIDS, respectively. Although SIV infection of RM is the best model for HIV infection, the immunologic and/or virologic phenomena in SIV-infected RM do not always reflect those seen in HIV-infected humans. Here virologic and immunologic aspects of acute HIV infection of humans and SIV infection of Asian and African nonhuman primates are discussed and compared in relation to how these aspects relate to disease progression.
STAT3 transcription factor signaling in specific T helper cell differentiation has been well described, although the broader roles for STAT3 in lymphocyte memory are less clear. Patients with autosomal-dominant hyper-IgE syndrome (AD-HIES) carry dominant-negative STAT3 mutations and are susceptible to a variety of bacterial and fungal infections. We found that AD-HIES patients have a cell-intrinsic defect in the number of central memory CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells compared to healthy controls. Naive T cells from AD-HIES patients had lower expression of memory-related transcription factors BCL6 and SOCS3, a primary proliferation defect, and they failed to acquire central memory-like surface phenotypes in vitro. AD-HIES patients showed a decreased ability to control varicella zoster virus (VZV) and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) latency, and T cell memory to both of these viruses was compromised. These data point to a specific role for STAT3 in human central memory T cell formation and in control of certain chronic viruses.
Naturally simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-infected sooty mangabeys do not progress to AIDS despite high-level virus replication. We previously showed that the fraction of CD4(+)CCR5(+) T cells is lower in sooty mangabeys compared to humans and macaques. Here we found that, after in vitro stimulation, sooty mangabey CD4(+) T cells fail to upregulate CCR5 and that this phenomenon is more pronounced in CD4(+) central memory T cells (T(CM) cells). CD4(+) T cell activation was similarly uncoupled from CCR5 expression in sooty mangabeys in vivo during acute SIV infection and the homeostatic proliferation that follows antibody-mediated CD4(+) T cell depletion. Sooty mangabey CD4(+) T(CM) cells that express low amounts of CCR5 showed reduced susceptibility to SIV infection both in vivo and in vitro when compared to CD4(+) T(CM) cells of rhesus macaques. These data suggest that low CCR5 expression on sooty mangabey CD4(+) T cells favors the preservation of CD4(+) T cell homeostasis and promotes an AIDS-free status by protecting CD4(+) T(CM) cells from direct virus infection.
SIV infection of natural host species such as sooty mangabeys results in high viral replication without clinical signs of simian AIDS. Studying such infections is useful for identifying immunologic parameters that lead to AIDS in HIV-infected patients. Here we have demonstrated that acute, SIV-induced CD4(+) T cell depletion in sooty mangabeys does not result in immune dysfunction and progression to simian AIDS and that a population of CD3(+)CD4(-)CD8(-) T cells (double-negative T cells) partially compensates for CD4(+) T cell function in these animals. Passaging plasma from an SIV-infected sooty mangabey with very few CD4(+) T cells to SIV-negative animals resulted in rapid loss of CD4(+) T cells. Nonetheless, all sooty mangabeys generated SIV-specific antibody and T cell responses and maintained normal levels of plasma lipopolysaccharide. Moreover, all CD4-low sooty mangabeys elicited a de novo immune response following influenza vaccination. Such preserved immune responses as well as the low levels of immune activation observed in these animals were associated with the presence of double-negative T cells capable of producing Th1, Th2, and Th17 cytokines. These studies indicate that SIV-infected sooty mangabeys do not appear to rely entirely on CD4(+) T cells to maintain immunity and identify double-negative T cells as a potential subset of cells capable of performing CD4(+) T cell-like helper functions upon SIV-induced CD4(+) T cell depletion in this species.
Chronic human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is associated with intestinal permeability and microbial translocation that contributes to systemic immune activation, which is an independent predictor of HIV disease progression. The association of microbial translocation with clinical outcome remains unknown.
Clinical observations and laboratory evidence link bone marrow failure in myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) to a T cell-mediated immune process that is responsive to immunosuppressive treatment (IST) in some patients. Previously, we showed that trisomy 8 MDS patients had clonally expanded CD8(+) T-cell populations that recognized aneuploid hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPC). Furthermore, microarray analyses showed that Wilms tumor 1 (WT1) gene was overexpressed by trisomy 8 hematopoietic progenitor (CD34(+)) cells compared with CD34(+) cells from healthy donors. Here, we show that WT1 mRNA expression is up-regulated in the bone marrow mononuclear cells of MDS patients with trisomy 8 relative to healthy controls and non-trisomy 8 MDS; WT1 protein levels were also significantly elevated. In addition, using a combination of physical and functional assays to detect the presence and reactivity of specific T cells, respectively, we demonstrate that IST-responsive MDS patients exhibit significant CD4(+) and CD8(+) T-cell responses directed against WT1. Finally, WT1-specific CD8(+) T cells were present within expanded T-cell receptor V? subfamilies and inhibited hematopoiesis when added to autologous patient bone marrow cells in culture. Thus, our results suggest that WT1 is one of the antigens that triggers T cell-mediated myelosuppression in MDS.
Despite enormous efforts by the scientific community, an effective HIV vaccine remains elusive. To further address to what degree T cells in absence of antibodies may protect against simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) disease progression, rhesus macaques were vaccinated intramuscularly with a chimpanzee-derived Ad vector (AdC) serotype 6 and then boosted intramuscularly with a serologically distinct AdC vector of serotype 7 both expressing Gag of SIVmac239. Animals were subsequently boosted intramuscularly with a modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA) virus expressing Gag and Tat of the homologous SIV before mucosal challenge with a high dose of SIVmac239 given rectally. Whereas vaccinated animals showed only a modest reduction of viral loads, their overall survival was improved, in association with a substantial protection from the loss of CD4(+) T cells. In addition, the two vaccinated Mamu-A*01(+) macaques controlled viral loads to levels below detection within weeks after challenge. These data strongly suggest that T cells, while unable to affect SIV acquisition upon high-dose rectal infection, can reduce disease progression. Induction of potent T-cell responses should thus remain a component of our efforts to develop an efficacious vaccine to HIV-1.
Patas monkeys were not reported to carry species?specific simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), but cross?species transmission of SIVagm to patas monkeys occurred in the wild. We report that patas monkeys share immunophenotypic features with natural hosts of SIV; that is, low levels of CD4+ T cells and low CCR5 expression on CD4+ T cells. In 1 patas monkey with undetectable levels of CD4+ T cells, experimental exposure to SIVagm did not result in infection. The other experimentally infected patas monkeys showed an infection pattern similar to SIV infection in natural hosts. Thus, down?regulation of CD4 and CCR5 expression on CD4+ T cells may effectively control human immunodeficiency virus acquisition and result in SIV extinction.
Increased levels of activated T cells are a hallmark of the chronic stage of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and are highly correlated with HIV disease progression. We evaluated chloroquine (CQ) as a potential therapy to reduce immune activation during HIV infection. We found that the frequency of CD38(+) HLA-DR(+) CD8 T cells, as well as Ki-67 expression in CD8 and CD4 T cells, was significantly reduced during CQ treatment. Our data indicate that treatment with CQ reduces systemic T-cell immune activation and, thus, that its use may be beneficial for certain groups of HIV-infected individuals.
T cells that express the ?? T-cell receptor, which recognize microbial or stress-induced antigens, represent a minority of blood T cells but constitute a major proportion of intraepithelial lymphocytes in the gastrointestinal mucosa. As microbial products have been shown to translocate from the gastrointestinal tract into circulation in chronically HIV/Simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-infected individuals, we conducted a study of V?1 and V?2 T-cell frequency, phenotype, and function in blood, spleen, lymph nodes, gastrointestinal mucosa, and bronchoalveolar lavage of uninfected and chronically SIVsmE543-infected rhesus macaques (RMs). We found: (1) SIV-associated inversion of V?1/V?2 T cells occurs in blood and in several tissues; (2) ?? T cells are not infected by SIV in vivo; (3) the V?1/V?2 inversion involves expansion of V?1 T cells; (4) expanded V?1 T cells are phenotypically and functionally different from V?1 T cells from uninfected RMs; and (5) the stimulus underlying expansion of V?1 T cells appears to be microbial translocation. These data highlight the importance of microbial translocation-induced immune activation in chronically infected individuals and provide new insights into an immune dysregulation phenomenon that is a hallmark of HIV/SIV infection. These findings may lead to novel therapeutic interventions that improve the immune responses against microbial antigens, and thus, decrease microbial translocation-induced immune activation.
The chronic phase of HIV infection is marked by pathological activation of the immune system, the extent of which better predicts disease progression than either plasma viral load or CD4(+) T cell count. Recently, translocation of microbial products from the gastrointestinal tract has been proposed as an underlying cause of this immune activation, based on indirect evidence including the detection of microbial products and specific immune responses in the plasma of chronically HIV-infected humans or SIV-infected Asian macaques. We analyzed tissues from SIV-infected rhesus macaques (RMs) to provide direct in situ evidence for translocation of microbial constituents from the lumen of the intestine into the lamina propria and to draining and peripheral lymph nodes and liver, accompanied by local immune responses in affected tissues. In chronically SIV-infected RMs this translocation is associated with breakdown of the integrity of the epithelial barrier of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and apparent inability of lamina propria macrophages to effectively phagocytose translocated microbial constituents. By contrast, in the chronic phase of SIV infection in sooty mangabeys, we found no evidence of epithelial barrier breakdown, no increased microbial translocation and no pathological immune activation. Because immune activation is characteristic of the chronic phase of progressive HIV/SIV infections, these findings suggest that increased microbial translocation from the GI tract, in excess of capacity to clear the translocated microbial constituents, helps drive pathological immune activation. Novel therapeutic approaches to inhibit microbial translocation and/or attenuate chronic immune activation in HIV-infected individuals may complement treatments aimed at direct suppression of viral replication.
The massive depletion of gastrointestinal-tract CD4 T cells is a hallmark of the acute phase of HIV infection. In contrast, the depletion of the lower-respiratory-tract mucosal CD4 T cells as measured in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid is more moderate and similar to the depletion of CD4 T cells observed in peripheral blood (PB). To understand better the dynamics of disease pathogenesis and the potential for the reconstitution of CD4 T cells in the lung and PB following the administration of effective antiretroviral therapy, we studied cell-associated viral loads, CD4 T-cell frequencies, and phenotypic and functional profiles of antigen-specific CD4 T cells from BAL fluid and blood before and after the initiation of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). The major findings to emerge were the following: (i) BAL CD4 T cells are not massively depleted or preferentially infected by HIV compared to levels for PB; (ii) BAL CD4 T cells reconstitute after the initiation of HAART, and their infection frequencies decrease; (iii) BAL CD4 T-cell reconstitution appears to occur via the local proliferation of resident BAL CD4 T cells rather than redistribution; and (iv) BAL CD4 T cells are more polyfunctional than CD4 T cells in blood, and their functional profile is relatively unchanged after the initiation of HAART. Taken together, these data suggest mechanisms for mucosal CD4 T-cell depletion and interventions that might aid in the reconstitution of mucosal CD4 T cells.
Casp8p41 is a protein fragment generated by cleavage of procaspase 8 by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) protease. We measured Casp8p41 content in memory CD4 T cells and analyzed the association of Casp8p41 content with CD4 T cell count, cross-sectionally and longitudinally. Casp8p41 content was inversely correlated with CD4 T cell count, and change in Casp8p41 content was associated with absolute CD4 T cell count with change over time. Casp8p41 change was a better predictor of CD4 T cell count change than activated CD8 T cell percentage or viral load and was comparable to bacterial 16s DNA levels. This suggests that Casp8p41 is a relevant mediator of CD4 T cell death during HIV infection.
Th17 cells are a newly identified subtype of CD4 T cells that respond to bacterial and fungal antigens and are important in mucosal immunology. Because HIV infection results in loss of CD4 T cells as well as disruption to the gastrointestinal tract that causes microbial translocation and immune activation, Th17 cells potentially play an important role in HIV pathogenesis. Here we examine the relationship between Th17 cells and HIV disease pathogenesis.
The pathogenesis of human and simian immunodeficiency viruses is characterized by CD4(+) T cell depletion and chronic T cell activation, leading ultimately to AIDS. CD4(+) T helper (T(H)) cells provide protective immunity and immune regulation through different immune cell functional subsets, including T(H)1, T(H)2, T regulatory (T(reg)), and interleukin-17 (IL-17)-secreting T(H)17 cells. Because IL-17 can enhance host defenses against microbial agents, thus maintaining the integrity of the mucosal barrier, loss of T(H)17 cells may foster microbial translocation and sustained inflammation. Here, we study HIV-seropositive subjects and find that progressive disease is associated with the loss of T(H)17 cells and a reciprocal increase in the fraction of the immunosuppressive T(reg) cells both in peripheral blood and in rectosigmoid biopsies. The loss of T(H)17/T(reg) balance is associated with induction of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase 1 (IDO1) by myeloid antigen-presenting dendritic cells and with increased plasma concentration of microbial products. In vitro, the loss of T(H)17/T(reg) balance is mediated directly by the proximal tryptophan catabolite from IDO metabolism, 3-hydroxyanthranilic acid. We postulate that induction of IDO may represent a critical initiating event that results in inversion of the T(H)17/T(reg) balance and in the consequent maintenance of a chronic inflammatory state in progressive HIV disease.
The mechanisms underlying the AIDS resistance of natural hosts for simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) remain unknown. Recently, it was proposed that natural SIV hosts avoid disease because their plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) are intrinsically unable to produce alpha interferon (IFN-alpha) in response to SIV RNA stimulation. However, here we show that (i) acute SIV infections of natural hosts are associated with a rapid and robust type I IFN response in vivo, (ii) pDCs are the principal in vivo producers of IFN-alpha/beta at peak acute infection in lymphatic tissues, and (iii) natural SIV hosts downregulate these responses in early chronic infection. In contrast, persistently high type I IFN responses are observed during pathogenic SIV infection of rhesus macaques.
Many features of T-cell homeostasis in primates are still unclear, thus limiting our understanding of AIDS pathogenesis, in which T-cell homeostasis is lost. Here, we performed experiments of in vivo CD4(+) or CD8(+) lymphocyte depletion in 2 nonhuman primate species, rhesus macaques (RMs) and sooty mangabeys (SMs). Whereas RMs develop AIDS after infection with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), SIV-infected SMs are typically AIDS-resistant. We found that, in both species, most CD4(+) or CD8(+) T cells in blood and lymph nodes were depleted after treatment with their respective antibodies. These CD4(+) and CD8(+) lymphocyte depletions were followed by a largely lineage-specific CD4(+) and CD8(+) T-cell proliferation, involving mainly memory T cells, which correlated with interleukin-7 plasma levels. Interestingly, SMs showed a faster repopulation of naive CD4(+) T cells than RMs. In addition, in both species CD8(+) T-cell repopulation was faster than that of CD4(+) T cells, with CD8(+) T cells reconstituting a normal pool within 60 days and CD4(+) T cells remaining below baseline levels up to day 180 after depletion. While this study revealed subtle differences in CD4(+) T-cell repopulation in an AIDS-sensitive versus an AIDS-resistant species, such differences may have particular relevance in the presence of active SIV repli cation, where CD4(+) T-cell destruction is chronic.
Natural hosts for simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) can be, and are often naturally, infected with species-specific SIVs, but do not develop acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). These natural hosts maintain high SIV viral loads, but avoid immunodeficiency. Elucidating the mechanisms that allow natural hosts to coexist with SIV without overt disease may provide crucial information for understanding AIDS pathogenesis. Over the past few years, several key features of natural SIV infections have been described in studies conducted predominantly in sooty mangabeys (SMs), African green monkeys (AGMs), and mandrills. Natural SIV hosts are able to avoid the chronic, generalized immune system activation that is associated with disease progression in HIV-infected individuals and are known to downmodulate the expression of the receptors for SIV. In this perspective we propose that a critical factor that differentiates nonprogressive from progressive HIV or SIV infection is the maintenance of T cell immune competence in the face of a virus that infects and kills CD4(+) T cells. Elucidation of the mechanisms underlying the preservation of immune function during and after the acute phase of natural SIV infection may lead to the design of novel preventive and therapeutic interventions for treatment of chronic HIV infection.
A new pathogenic R5-tropic simian/human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV) was generated following serial passaging in rhesus macaques. All 13 animals inoculated with SHIV(AD8) passaged lineages experienced marked depletions of CD4(+) T cells. Ten of these infected monkeys became normal progressors (NPs) and had gradual losses of both memory and naïve CD4(+) T lymphocytes, generated antiviral CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell responses, and sustained chronic immune activation while maintaining variable levels of plasma viremia (10(2) to 10(5) RNA copies/ml for up to 3 years postinfection [p.i.]). To date, five NPs developed AIDS associated with opportunistic infections caused by Pneumocystis carinii, Mycobacterium avium, and Campylobacter coli that required euthanasia between weeks 100 and 199 p.i. Three other NPs have experienced marked depletions of circulating CD4(+) T lymphocytes (92 to 154 cells/microl) following 1 to 2 years of infection. When tested for coreceptor usage, the viruses isolated from four NPs at the time of their euthanasia remained R5 tropic. Three of the 13 SHIV(AD8)-inoculated macaques experienced a rapid-progressor syndrome characterized by sustained plasma viremia of >1 x 10(7) RNA copies/ml and rapid irreversible loss of memory CD4(+) T cells that required euthanasia between weeks 19 and 23 postinfection. The sustained viremia, associated depletion of CD4(+) T lymphocytes, and induction of AIDS make the SHIV(AD8) lineage of viruses a potentially valuable reagent for vaccine studies.
HIV infection is associated with an increased risk of thrombosis; and as antiretroviral therapy has increased the lifespan of HIV-infected patients, their risk for cardiovascular events is expected to increase. A large clinical study found recently that all-cause mortality for HIV(+) patients was related to plasma levels of interleukin-6 and to D-dimer products of fibrinolysis. We provide evidence that this elevated risk for coagulation may be related to increased proportions of monocytes expressing cell surface tissue factor (TF, thromboplastin) in persons with HIV infection. Monocyte TF expression could be induced in vitro by lipopolysaccharide and flagellin, but not by interleukin-6. Monocyte expression of TF was correlated with HIV levels in plasma, with indices of immune activation, and with plasma levels of soluble CD14, a marker of in vivo lipopolysaccharide exposure. TF levels also correlated with plasma levels of D-dimers, reflective of in vivo clot formation and fibrinolysis. Thus, drivers of immune activation in HIV disease, such as HIV replication, and potentially, microbial translocation, may activate clotting cascades and contribute to thrombus formation and cardiovascular morbidities in HIV infection.
Induction of a functional subset of HIV-specific CD4+ T cells that is resistant to HIV infection could enhance immune protection and decrease the rate of HIV disease progression. CMV-specific CD4+ T cells, which are less frequently infected than HIV-specific CD4+ T cells, are a model for such an effect. To determine the mechanism of this protection, we compared the functional response of HIV gag-specific and CMV pp65-specific CD4+ T cells in individuals co-infected with CMV and HIV. We found that CMV-specific CD4+ T cells rapidly up-regulated production of MIP-1alpha and MIP-1beta mRNA, resulting in a rapid increase in production of MIP-1alpha and MIP-1beta after cognate antigen stimulation. Production of beta-chemokines was associated with maturational phenotype and was rarely seen in HIV-specific CD4+ T cells. To test whether production of beta-chemokines by CD4+ T cells lowers their susceptibility to HIV infection, we measured cell-associated Gag DNA to assess the in vivo infection history of CMV-specific CD4+ T cells. We found that CMV-specific CD4+ T cells which produced MIP-1beta contained 10 times less Gag DNA than did those which failed to produce MIP-1beta. These data suggest that CD4+ T cells which produce MIP-1alpha and MIP-1beta bind these chemokines in an autocrine fashion which decreases the risk of in vivo HIV infection.
The successful reconstitution of adaptive immunity to human cytomegalovirus (CMV) in hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) recipients is central to the reduction of viral reactivation-related morbidity and mortality. Here, we characterized the magnitude, specificity, phenotype, function, and clonotypic composition of CMV-specific T-cell responses in 18 donor-recipient pairs both before and after HSCT. The principal findings were: (1) the specificity of CMV-specific T-cell responses in the recipient after HSCT mirrors that in the donor; (2) the maintenance of these targeting patterns reflects the transfer of epitope-specific T-cell clonotypes from donor to recipient; (3) less differentiated CD27(+)CD57(-) CMV-specific memory T cells are more likely to persist in the recipient after HSCT compared with more terminally differentiated CD27(-) CD57(+) CMV-specific memory T cells; (4) the presence of greater numbers of less differentiated CD8(+) CMV-specific T cells in the donor appears to confer protection against viral reactivation in the recipient after HSCT; and (5) CMV-specific T cells acquire a more differentiated phenotype and a restricted functional profile after HSCT. Overall, these findings define the immunologic factors that influence the successful adoptive transfer of antigen-specific T-cell immunity during HSCT, which enables the identification of recipients at particular risk of CMV reactivation after HSCT.
The design of an effective AIDS vaccine has eluded the efforts of the scientific community to the point that alternative approaches to classic vaccine formulations have to be considered. We propose here that HIV vaccine research could greatly benefit from the study of natural simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infections of African nonhuman primates. Natural SIV hosts (for example, sooty mangabeys, African green monkeys and mandrills) share many features of HIV infection of humans; however, they usually do not develop immunodeficiency. These natural, nonprogressive SIV infections represent an evolutionary adaptation that allows a peaceful coexistence of primate lentiviruses and the host immune system. This adaptation does not result in reduced viral replication but, rather, involves phenotypic changes to CD4(+) T cell subsets, limited immune activation and preserved mucosal immunity, all of which contribute to the avoidance of disease progression and, possibly, to the reduction of vertical SIV transmission. Here we summarize the current understanding of SIV infection of African nonhuman primates and discuss how unraveling these evolutionary adaptations may provide clues for new vaccine designs that might induce effective immune responses without the harmful consequences of excessive immune activation.
Translocation of microbial products has been described in chronic human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and correlates with activation of the immune system. We investigated the potential translocation of microbial products in idiopathic CD4 lymphocytopenia (ICL), a rare disorder characterized by low CD4 T cell counts in the absence of HIV infection. Plasma lipopolysaccharide (LPS) levels and T cell activation were measured in a cross-sectional cohort study of patients with ICL and HIV infection and healthy control subjects. Increases in CD4 T cell proliferation but not CD8 T cell proliferation were observed in patients with ICL. LPS levels were significantly elevated both in patients with ICL and in patients with HIV infection, and they were strongly correlated with the proportion of proliferating CD4 T cells in the cohort of patients with ICL (r = 0.88; P= .003). The proportions of T helper (Th) 17 and Th1 CD4 cells in peripheral blood were similar between patients with ICL, patients with HIV infection, and control subjects. These findings suggest a potential association of translocation of microbial products with perturbed CD4 T cell homeostasis in individuals with CD4 lymphopenic states other than HIV infection.
Most human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected individuals experience increases in peripheral CD4(+) T cell counts with suppressive antiretroviral therapy (ART) that achieves plasma HIV RNA levels that are less than the limit of detection. However, some individuals experience decreasing CD4(+) T cell counts despite suppression of plasma viremia. We evaluated 4 patients with a history of CD4(+) T cell decline despite successfully suppressive ART, from a median of 719 cells/mm(3) (range, 360-1141 cells/mm(3)) to 227 cells/mm(3) (range, 174-311 cells/mm(3)) over a period of 18-24 months; 3 of the patients were receiving tenofovir and didanosine, which may have contributed to this decrease. There was no evidence of HIV replication, nor of antiretroviral drug resistance in the blood or lymphoid tissue, or increased proliferation or decreased thymic production of naive CD4(+) T cells. All 4 patients had significant fibrosis of the T cell zone of lymphoid tissue, which appeared to be an important factor in the failure to reconstitute T cells.
We investigated whether a 28-day course of potent antiretroviral therapy, initiated at a time point (48 h postinoculation) following simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) inoculation when the acquisition of a viral infection was virtually assured, would sufficiently sensitize the immune system and result in controlled virus replication when treatment was stopped. The administration of tenofovir 48 h after SIV inoculation to six Mamu-A*01-negative rhesus macaques did, in fact, potently suppress virus replication in all of the treated rhesus macaques, but plasma viral RNA rapidly became detectable in all six animals following its cessation. Unexpectedly, the viral set points in the treated monkeys became established at two distinct levels. Three controller macaques had chronic phase virus loads in the range of 1 x 10(3) RNA copies/ml, whereas three noncontroller animals had set points of 2 x 10(5) to 8 x 10(5) RNA copies/ml. All of the noncontroller monkeys died with symptoms of immunodeficiency by week 60 postinfection, whereas two of the three controller animals were alive at week 80. Interestingly, the three controller macaques each carried major histocompatibility complex class I alleles that previously were reported to confer protection against SIV, and two of these animals generated cytotoxic T-lymphocyte escape viral variants during the course of their infections.
African green monkeys (genus Chlorocebus) can be infected with species-specific simian immunodeficiency virus (SIVagm) but do not develop AIDS. These natural hosts of SIV, like sooty mangabeys, maintain high levels of SIV replication but have evolved to avoid immunodeficiency. Elucidating the mechanisms that allow natural hosts to coexist with SIV without overt disease may provide crucial information for understanding AIDS pathogenesis. Here we show that many CD4(+) T cells from African green monkeys downregulate CD4 in vivo as they enter the memory pool; that downregulation of CD4 by memory T cells is independent of SIV infection; that the CD4(-) memory T cells maintain functions that are normally attributed to CD4(+) T cells, including production of interleukin-2 (IL-2), production of IL-17, expression of forkhead box P3 and expression of CD40 ligand; that loss of CD4 expression protects these T cells from infection by SIVagm in vivo; and that these CD4(-) T cells can maintain major histocompatibility complex class II restriction. These data show that the absence of SIV-induced disease progression in natural host species may be partially explained by preservation of a subset of T cells that maintain CD4(+) T cell function while being resistant to SIV infection in vivo.
Despite the pressing need for an AIDS vaccine, the determinants of protective immunity to HIV remain concealed within the complexity of adaptive immune responses. We dissected immunodominant virus-specific CD8(+) T cell populations in Mamu-A*01(+) rhesus macaques with primary SIV infection to elucidate the hallmarks of effective immunity at the level of individual constituent clonotypes, which were identified according to the expression of distinct T cell receptors (TCRs). The number of public clonotypes, defined as those that expressed identical TCR beta-chain amino acid sequences and recurred in multiple individuals, contained within the acute phase CD8(+) T cell population specific for the biologically constrained Gag CM9 (CTPYDINQM; residues 181-189) epitope correlated negatively with the virus load set point. This independent molecular signature of protection was confirmed in a prospective vaccine trial, in which clonotype engagement was governed by the nature of the antigen rather than the context of exposure and public clonotype usage was associated with enhanced recognition of epitope variants. Thus, the pattern of antigen-specific clonotype recruitment within a protective CD8(+) T cell population is a prognostic indicator of vaccine efficacy and biological outcome in an AIDS virus infection.
Understanding early immunological events during HIV-1 infection that may set the course of disease progression is important for identifying correlates of viral control. This study explores the association of differentiation profiles of HIV-specific and total memory CD8(+) T cells with viral set point. A cohort of 47 HIV-1-infected individuals, with differing viral set points at 12 mo, were recruited during acute infection. We identified that the magnitude of IFN-gamma(+) T cell responses at 6 mo postinfection did not associate with viral set point at 12 mo. A subset of 16 individuals was further studied to characterize CD8(+) T cells for expression patterns of markers for memory differentiation, survival (CD127), senescence (CD57), and negative regulation (programmed death-1). We show that viral control and the predicted tempo of HIV disease progression in the first year of infection was associated with a synchronous differentiation of HIV-specific and total CD8(+) memory subpopulations. At 6-9 mo postinfection, those with low viral set points had a significantly higher proportion of early differentiated HIV-specific and total memory CD8(+) cells of a central memory (CD45RO(+)CD27(+)CCR7(+)) and intermediate memory (CD45RO(-)CD27(+)CCR7(-)) phenotype. Those with high viral set points possessed significantly larger frequencies of effector memory (CD45RO(+)CD27(-)CCR7(-)) cells. The proportions of memory subsets significantly correlated with CD38(+)CD8(+) T cells. Thus, it is likely that a high Ag burden resulting in generalized immune activation may drive differentiation of HIV-specific and total memory CD8(+) T cells.
Viral compartmentalization between naïve and memory CD4(+) T cell subsets has been described, but only for individuals who were receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART). We present here an extensive analysis of the viral quasispecies residing in the naïve, central and effector memory CD4(+) T cell subsets in a number of therapy naïve individuals and representing an array of HIV-1 subtypes. We longitudinally analyzed subset-specific infection and evolution in a subtype B infected individual who switches from CCR5 to dual CCR5/CXCR4 coreceptor usage. We show that the central memory subset, the predominantly infected subset, harbors a more diverse viral population compared to the others. Through sequence analysis of the env C2V3 region we demonstrate a lack of viral compartmentalization among all subsets. Upon coreceptor switch we observe a pronounced increase in the infection level of the naïve population. Our findings emphasize the importance of all CD4(+) T cell subsets to viral evolution.
The significance of elevated plasma levels of bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in persons with chronic HIV infection remains undefined. We measured LPS levels by use of limulus lysate assay, and DNA sequences encoding bacterial ribosomal 16S RNA (16S rDNA) were assessed by quantitative polymerase chain reactions in plasma samples obtained from 242 donors. Plasma levels of 16S rDNA were significantly higher in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected subjects than in uninfected subjects, and they correlated with LPS levels. Higher levels of 16S rDNA were associated with higher levels of T cell activation and with lower levels of CD4 T cell restoration during antiretroviral therapy. Antiretroviral therapy reduces but does not fully normalize plasma levels of bacterial 16S rDNA, an index of microbial translocation from the gastrointestinal tract. High levels of 16S rDNA during therapy are strongly associated with reduced increases in the CD4(+) T lymphocyte count, irrespective of plasma HIV RNA levels. These findings are consistent with the importance of microbial translocation in immunodeficiency and T cell homeostasis in chronic HIV infection.
The progressive decline of CD4(+) T cells is a hallmark of disease progression in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infection. Whereas the acute phase of the infection is dominated by virus-mediated depletion of memory CD4(+) T cells, chronic infection is often associated with a progressive decline of total CD4(+) T cells, including the naïve subset. The mechanism of this second phase of CD4(+) T cell loss is unclear and may include immune activation-induced cell death, immune-mediated destruction, and regenerative or homeostatic failure. We studied patterns of CD4(+) T cell subset depletion in blood and tissues in a group of 20 rhesus macaques inoculated with derivatives of the pathogenic SIVsmE543-3 or SIVmac239. Phenotypic analysis of CD4(+) T cells demonstrated two patterns of CD4(+) T cell depletion, primarily affecting either naïve or memory CD4(+) T cells. Progressive decline of total CD4(+) T cells was observed only in macaques with naïve CD4(+) T cell depletion (ND), though the depletion of memory CD4(+) T cells was profound in macaques with memory CD4(+) T cell depletion (MD). ND macaques exhibited lower viral load and higher SIV-specific antibody responses and greater B cell activation than MD macaques. Depletion of naïve CD4(+) T cells was associated with plasma antibodies autoreactive with CD4(+) T cells, increasing numbers of IgG-coated CD4(+) T cells, and increased incidence of autoreactive antibodies to platelets (GPIIIa), dsDNA, and phospholipid (aPL). Consistent with a biological role of these antibodies, these latter antibodies were accompanied by clinical features associated with autoimmune disorders, thrombocytopenia, and catastrophic thrombotic events. More importantly for AIDS pathogenesis, the level of autoreactive antibodies significantly correlated with the extent of naïve CD4(+) T cell depletion. These results suggest an important role of autoreactive antibodies in the CD4(+) T cell decline observed during progression to AIDS.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infections induce robust, generalized inflammatory responses that begin during acute infection and lead to pathological systemic immune activation, fibrotic damage of lymphoid tissues, and CD4? T-cell loss, pathogenic processes that contribute to disease progression.
Pathogenic simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infection is associated with enteropathy, which likely contributes to AIDS progression. To identify candidate etiologies for AIDS enteropathy, we used next-generation sequencing to define the enteric virome during SIV infection in nonhuman primates. Pathogenic, but not nonpathogenic, SIV infection was associated with significant expansion of the enteric virome. We identified at least 32 previously undescribed enteric viruses during pathogenic SIV infection and confirmed their presence by using viral culture and PCR testing. We detected unsuspected mucosal adenovirus infection associated with enteritis as well as parvovirus viremia in animals with advanced AIDS, indicating the pathogenic potential of SIV-associated expansion of the enteric virome. No association between pathogenic SIV infection and the family-level taxonomy of enteric bacteria was detected. Thus, enteric viral infections may contribute to AIDS enteropathy and disease progression. These findings underline the importance of metagenomic analysis of the virome for understanding AIDS pathogenesis.
The advent of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) has significantly improved the prognosis of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected individuals. However, individuals treated long-term with cART still manifest increased mortality compared to HIV-uninfected individuals. This increased mortality is closely associated with inflammation, which persists in cART-treated HIV-infected individuals despite levels of plasma viremia below detection limits. Chronic, pathological immune activation is a key factor in progression to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) in untreated HIV-infected individuals. One contributor to immune activation is microbial translocation, which occurs when microbial products traverse the tight epithelial barrier of the gastrointestinal tract. Here we review the mechanisms underlying microbial translocation and its role in contributing to immune activation and disease progression in HIV infection.
Simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infection of macaques can result in central nervous system disorders, such as meningitis and encephalitis. We studied 10 animals inoculated with brain-derived virus from animals with SIV encephalitis. Over half of the macaques developed SIV-induced neurologic disease. Elevated levels of systemic immune activation were observed to correlate with viral RNA in the cerebral spinal fluid but not with plasma viral load, consistent with a role for SIV in the pathogenesis of neurologic disease.
Nonhuman primate natural hosts for simian immunodeficiency viruses (SIV) develop a nonresolving chronic infection but do not develop AIDS. Mechanisms to explain the nonprogressive nature of SIV infection in natural hosts that underlie maintained high levels of plasma viremia without apparent loss of target cells remain unclear. Here we used comprehensive approaches (ie, FACS sorting, quantitative RT-PCR, immunohistochemistry, and in situ hybridization) to study viral infection within subsets of peripheral blood and lymphoid tissue (LT) CD4(+) T cells in cohorts of chronically SIV-infected rhesus macaques (RMs), HIV-infected humans, and SIVsmm-infected sooty mangabeys (SMs). We find: (1) infection frequencies among CD4(+) T cells in chronically SIV-infected RMs are significantly higher than those in SIVsmm-infected SMs; (2) infected cells are found in distinct anatomic LT niches and different CD4(+) T-cell subsets in SIV-infected RMs and SMs, with infection patterns of RMs reflecting HIV infection in humans; (3) T(FH) cells are infected at higher frequencies in RMs and humans than in SMs; and (4) LT viral burden, including follicular dendritic cell deposition of virus, is increased in RMs and humans compared with SMs. These data provide insights into how natural hosts are able to maintain high levels of plasma viremia while avoiding development of immunodeficiency.
IL-21 regulates Th17 cell homeostasis, enhances the differentiation of memory B cells and antibody-secreting plasma cells, and promotes the maintenance of CD8(+) T-cell responses. In this study, we investigated the phenotype, function, and frequency of blood and intestinal IL-21-producing cells in nonhuman primates that are hosts of progressive (rhesus macaques [RMs]) and nonprogressive (sooty mangabeys [SMs]) SIV infection. We found that, in both species, memory CD4(+)CD95(+)CCR6(-) T cells are the main IL-21 producers, and that only a small fraction of CD4(+)IL-21(+) T cells produce IL-17. During chronic SIV infection of RMs, CD4(+)IL-21(+) T cells were significantly depleted in both blood and rectal mucosa, with the extent of this depletion correlating with the loss of Th17 cells. Furthermore, treatment with IL-21 increased the in vivo levels of Th17 cells in SIV-infected RMs. In contrast, normal levels of CD4(+)IL-21(+) T cells were found in SIV-infected SMs. Collectively, these data indicate that depletion of IL-21-producing CD4(+) T cells distinguishes progressive from nonprogressive SIV infection of RMs and SMs, and suggest that depletion of CD4(+)IL-21(+) T cells is involved in the preferential loss of Th17 cells that is associated with SIV disease progression. Further preclinical studies of IL-21 as a potential immunotherapeutic agent for HIV infection may be warranted.
CD4 T follicular helper (TFH) cells interact with and stimulate the generation of antigen-specific B cells. TFH cell interaction with B cells correlates with production of SIV-specific immunoglobulins. However, the fate of TFH cells and their participation in SIV-induced antibody production is not well understood. We investigated the phenotype, function, location, and molecular signature of TFH cells in rhesus macaques. Similar to their human counterparts, TFH cells in rhesus macaques represented a heterogeneous population with respect to cytokine function. In a highly differentiated subpopulation of TFH cells, characterized by CD150lo expression, production of Th1 cytokines was compromised while IL-4 production was augmented, and cells exhibited decreased survival, cycling, and trafficking capacity. TFH cells exhibited a distinct gene profile that was markedly altered by SIV infection. TFH cells were infected by SIV; yet, in some animals, these cells actually accumulated during chronic SIV infection. Generalized immune activation and increased IL-6 production helped drive TFH differentiation during SIV infection. Accumulation of TFH cells was associated with increased frequency of activated germinal center B cells and SIV-specific antibodies. Therefore, chronic SIV does not disturb the ability of TFH cells to help B cell maturation and production of SIV-specific immunoglobulins.
Simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infection of natural hosts is characterized by nonpathogenic chronic viremia, maintenance of gastrointestinal epithelial barrier integrity, and low numbers of target cells. Assessment of cell-associated virus load in T cell subsets in multiple anatomic compartments of chronically SIV-infected sabeus African green monkeys (AGMs) revealed that gastrointestinal memory CD4(+) T lymphocytes are a major source of cell-associated virus and a significant contributor to SIV viremia in AGMs.
Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection is characterized by persistent viral replication in the context of CD4(+) T cell depletion and elevated immune activation associated with disease progression. In contrast, simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infection of African-origin sooty mangabeys (SM) generally does not result in simian AIDS despite high viral loads and therefore affords a unique model in which to study the immunologic contributions to a nonpathogenic lentiviral disease outcome. A key feature of these natural SIV infections is the maintenance of low levels of immune activation during chronic infection. Our goal was to delineate the contribution of monocytes to maintaining low levels of immune activation in SIV-infected SM. Utilizing an ex vivo whole-blood assay, proinflammatory cytokine production was quantified in monocytes in response to multiple Toll-like receptor (TLR) ligands and a specific, significant reduction in the tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-?) response to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) was observed in SIV-infected SM. In contrast, monocytes from hosts of pathogenic infections (HIV-infected humans and SIV-infected Asian macaques) maintained a robust TNF-? response. In SIV-infected SM, monocyte TNF-? responses to low levels of LPS could be augmented by the presence of plasma from uninfected control animals. The impact of LPS-induced TNF-? production on immune activation was demonstrated in vitro, as TNF-? blocking antibodies inhibited downstream CD8(+) T cell activation in a dose-dependent manner. These data demonstrate an association between nonpathogenic SIV infection of SM and a reduced monocyte TNF-? response to LPS, and they identify a role for monocytes in contributing to the suppressed chronic immune activation observed in these natural hosts.
Elevated serum interleukin 7 (IL-7) levels are observed in lymphopenic conditions, including idiopathic CD4 lymphopenia (ICL), which is characterized by CD4 lymphopenia in the absence of human immunodeficiency virus infection or other known immunodeficiency.
Early immunological events during acute HIV infection are thought to fundamentally influence long-term disease outcome. Whereas the contribution of HIV-specific CD8 T cell responses to early viral control is well established, the role of HIV-specific CD4 T cell responses in the control of viral replication after acute infection is unknown. A growing body of evidence suggests that CD4 T cells-besides their helper function-have the capacity to directly recognize and kill virally infected cells. In a longitudinal study of a cohort of individuals acutely infected with HIV, we observed that subjects able to spontaneously control HIV replication in the absence of antiretroviral therapy showed a significant expansion of HIV-specific CD4 T cell responses-but not CD8 T cell responses-compared to subjects who progressed to a high viral set point (P = 0.038). Markedly, this expansion occurred before differences in viral load or CD4 T cell count and was characterized by robust cytolytic activity and expression of a distinct profile of perforin and granzymes at the earliest time point. Kaplan-Meier analysis revealed that the emergence of granzyme A(+) HIV-specific CD4 T cell responses at baseline was highly predictive of slower disease progression and clinical outcome (average days to CD4 T cell count <350/?l was 575 versus 306, P = 0.001). These data demonstrate that HIV-specific CD4 T cell responses can be used during the earliest phase of HIV infection as an immunological predictor of subsequent viral set point and disease outcome. Moreover, these data suggest that expansion of granzyme A(+) HIV-specific cytolytic CD4 T cell responses early during acute HIV infection contributes substantially to the control of viral replication.
The lumen of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract is home to an enormous quantity of different bacterial species, our microbiota, that thrive in an often symbiotic relationship with the host. Given that the healthy host must regulate contact between the microbiota and its immune system to avoid overwhelming systemic immune activation, humans have evolved several mechanisms to attenuate systemic microbial translocation (MT) and its consequences. However, several diseases are associated with the failure of one or more of these mechanisms, with consequent immune activation and deleterious effects on health. Here, we discuss the mechanisms underlying MT, diseases associated with MT, and therapeutic interventions that aim to decrease it.
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