Author(s): Couturier J, Suliburk JW, Brown JM, Luke DJ, Agarwal N
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The objective of this study is to determine whether adipose tissue functions as a reservoir for HIV-1.
We examined memory CD4(+) T cells and HIV DNA in adipose tissue-stromal vascular fraction (AT-SVF) of five patients [four antiretroviral therapy (ART)-treated and one untreated]. To determine whether adipocytes stimulate CD4(+) T cells and regulate HIV production, primary human adipose cells were cocultured with HIV-infected CD4(+) T cells.
AT-SVF T cells were studied by flow cytometry, and AT-SVF HIV DNA (Gag and Env) was examined by nested PCR and sequence analyses. CD4(+) T-cell activation and HIV production were measured by flow cytometry and ELISA.
AT-SVF CD3(+) T cells were activated (>60% CD69(+)) memory CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells in uninfected and HIV-infected persons, but the AT-SVF CD4(+)/CD8(+) ratio was lower in HIV patients. HIV DNA (Gag and Env) was detected in AT-SVF of all five patients examined by nested PCR, comparably to other tissues [peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC), lymph node or thymus]. In coculture experiments, adipocytes increased CD4(+) T-cell activation and HIV production approximately two to three-fold in synergy with gamma-chain cytokines interleukin (IL)-2, IL7 or IL15. These effects were mitigated by neutralizing antibodies against IL6 and integrin-α1β1. Adipocytes also enhanced T-cell viability.
Adipose tissues of ART-treated patients harbour activated memory CD4(+) T cells and HIV DNA. Adipocytes promote CD4(+) T-cell activation and HIV production in concert with intrinsic adipose factors. Adipose tissue may be an important reservoir for HIV.
This article was published in AIDS
and referenced in Immunotherapy: Open Access