Antigen-stimulated apoptotic T-cell death in HIV infection is selective for CD4+T cells, modulated by cytokines and effected by lymphotoxin
Genital inflammation is associated with increased HIV acquisition risk. Induction of an inflammatory response can occur through the recognition of pathogenic or commensal microbes by Toll-like receptors (TLRs) on various immune cells. We used a in vitro peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) system to understand the contribution of TLR stimulation in inducing inflammation and the activation of target T cells, and its effect on HIV susceptibility. PBMCs were stimulated with TLR agonists LPS
... TLR agonists LPS (TLR4), R848 (TLR7/8), and Pam3CSK4 (TLR1/2), and then infected with HIV NL4-3 AD8. Multiplexed ELISA was used to measure 28 cytokines in cell culture supernatants. Flow cytometry was used to measure the activation state (CD38 and HLA-DR), and CCR5 expression on CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. Although TLR agonists induced higher cytokine and chemokine secretion, they did not significantly activate CD4+ and CD8+ T cells and showed decreased CCR5 expression relative to the unstimulated control. Despite several classes of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines being upregulated by TLR agonists, CD4+ T cells were significantly less infectable by HIV after TLR4-stimulation than the unstimulated control. These data demonstrate that the inflammatory effects that occur in the presence TLR agonist stimulations do not necessarily translate to the activation of T cells. Most importantly, the finding that TLR4-stimulation reduces rather than increases susceptibility of CD4+ T cells to HIV infection in this in vitro system strongly suggests that the increased chemokine and possible antiviral factor expression induced by these TLR agonists play a powerful although complex role in determining HIV infection risk.