Ortiz AM, Klatt NR, Li B, et al. Depletion of CD4+ T cells abrogates postpeak decline of viremia in SIV-infected rhesus macaques

Yerkes National Primate Research Center and Emory Vaccine Center, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
The Journal of clinical investigation (Impact Factor: 13.22). 11/2011; 121(11):4433-45. DOI: 10.1172/JCI46023
Source: PubMed


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.

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    • "We previously described a model for in vivo emergence of CD4-independent SIV in which rhesus macaques were experimentally depleted of CD4+ T-cells before SIVmac251 infection [9,10]. Envs isolated from the plasma of CD4+ T cell-depleted animals at day 42 (d42) post infection were capable of mediating infection using CCR5 independently of CD4, while Envs from CD4+ T cell-depleted macaques early after infection and control macaques both early and late after infection were strictly CD4-dependent [9]. "
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    ABSTRACT: HIV and SIV generally require CD4 binding prior to coreceptor engagement, but Env can acquire the ability to use CCR5 independently of CD4 under various circumstances. The ability to use CCR5 coupled with low-to-absent CD4 levels is associated with enhanced macrophage infection and increased neutralization sensitivity, but the additional features of these Envs that may affect cell targeting is not known. Here we report that CD4-independent SIV variants that emerged in vivo in a CD4+ T cell-depleted rhesus macaque model display markedly decreased plasticity of co-receptor use. While CD4-dependent Envs can use low levels of macaque CCR5 for efficient entry, CD4-independent variants required high levels of CCR5 even in the presence of CD4. CD4-independent Envs were also more sensitive to the CCR5 antagonist Maraviroc. CD4-dependent variants mediated efficient entry using human CCR5, whereas CD4-independent variants had impaired use of human CCR5. Similarly, CD4-independent Envs used the alternative coreceptors GPR15 and CXCR6 less efficiently than CD4-dependent variants. Env amino acids D470N and E84K that confer the CD4-independent phenotype also regulated entry through low CCR5 levels and GPR15, indicating a common structural basis. Treatment of CD4-dependent Envs with soluble CD4 enhanced entry through CCR5 but reduced entry through GPR15, suggesting that induction of CD4-induced conformational changes by non-cell surface-associated CD4 impairs use of this alternative co-receptor. CD4 independence is associated with more restricted coreceptor interactions. While the ability to enter target cells through CCR5 independently of CD4 may enable infection of CD4 low-to-negative cells such as macrophages, this phenotype may conversely reduce the potential range of targets such as cells expressing low levels of CCR5, conformational variants of CCR5, or possibly even alternative coreceptors.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2013 · Retrovirology
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    • "Specific T helper cells are crucial for the anti-HIV immune response, since they provide help to B and CD8+ cells. A recent study in SIV-infected macaques has shown that depleting CD4+ during PHI worsen the infection [15]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Immune changes occurring after primary HIV infection (PHI) have a pivotal relevance. Our objective was to characterize the polyfunctionality of immune response triggered by PHI, and to characterize immune activation and regulatory T cells, correlating such features to disease progression. We followed 11 patients experiencing PHI for 4 years. By polychromatic flow cytometry, we studied every month, for the first 6 months, T lymphocyte polyfunctionality after cell stimulation with peptides derived from HIV-1 gag and nef. Tregs were identified by flow cytometry, and T cell activation studied by CD38 and HLA-DR expression. An increase of anti-gag and anti-nef CD8+ specific T cells was observed 3 months after PHI; however, truly polyfunctional T cells, also able to produce IL-2, were never found. No gross changes in Tregs were present. T lymphocyte activation was maximal 1 and 2 months after PHI, and significantly decreased in the following period. The level of activation two months after PHI was strictly correlated to the plasma viral load 1 year after infection, and significantly influenced the length of period without therapy. Indeed, 80% of patients with less than the median value of activated CD8+ (15.5%) or CD4+ (0.9%) T cells remained free of therapy for >46 months, while all patients over the median value had to start treatment within 26 months. T cell activation after PHI, more than T cell polyfunctionality or Tregs, is a predictive marker for the control of viral load and for the time required to start treatment.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2012 · PLoS ONE
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    • "Plasma viral loads and CD4+ T cell counts of all the experimental monkeys around sacrificing time are listed in Table 1. The SIV RNA loads in the blood of SIV infected monkeys without ART range from 4.2 × 103 to 5.2 × 104/ml, which indicates these monkeys had a mild SIV infection based on previous reports [11,12]. The mild infection was also evidenced by the moderate CD4+ T cell decline in peripheral blood (average CD4+ T cells 441/mm3). "
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    ABSTRACT: Background The gastrointestinal tissue plays an important role in the pathogenesis of HIV/SIV infection and serves as a viral reservoir in infected individuals under antiretroviral therapy (ART). However, the effect of ART administration in the very early stage of infection on HIV/SIV replication and pathogenesis in gastrointestinal tissue has not been fully studied. In this current study, rhesus monkeys infected with SIV were treated with ART starting at day 7 post-infection. The effect of early ART on SIV replication and infection-related pathogenic changes in mucosal tissues of the infected monkeys was examined. Methods Nuclear acids were extracted from snap frozen ileum and colon tissues and mesentery lymph nodes from SIV infected monkeys with or without ART. SIV RNA and DNA loads as well as levels of CD3, CD4 and cytokine mRNA were measured by PCR and RT PCR from the isolated nuclear acids. Tissue sections were stained by immuno-fluorescence labeled antibodies for CD3 and CD4. Results Without ART treatment, these monkeys underwent a mild SIV infection with low viral loads and slightly decreased CD4+ T cell counts in peripheral blood. In ART treated monkeys, SIV RNA loads were undetectable in blood with normal CD4+ T cell counts, however, SIV RNA and DNA were detected in the intestinal tissues and mesentery lymph nodes although the levels were lower than those in untreated monkeys. The levels of CD3 and CD4 positive cells in the tissues were similar between the infected untreated monkeys and infected ART treated monkeys based on RT-PCR and immune-fluorescence staining of the tissue sections. Furthermore, compatible levels of IL-6, TNF-a, IL-1b and MyD88 mRNAs were detected in most of intestinal tissues and mesentery lymph nodes of infected ART treated and infected untreated monkeys. Conclusions These results suggest that early ART administration could not effectively inhibit SIV replication in intestinal tissues and mesentery lymph nodes and could not reduce the immune activation induced by SIV infection in the intestinal tissues.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2012 · Virology Journal
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