Current strategies aimed to cure HIV infection are based on combined efforts to reactivate the virus from latency and improve immune effector cell function to clear infected cells. These strategies are primarily focused on CD8+ T cells and approaches are challenging due to insufficient HIV antigen production from infected cells and poor HIV-specific CD8+ T cells. γδ T cells represent a unique subset of effector T cells that can traffic to tissues, and selectively target cancer or virally infected cells without requiring MHC presentation. We analyzed whether γδ T cells represent a complementary/alternative immunotherapeutic approach towards HIV cure strategies. γδ T cells from HIV-infected virologically suppressed donors were expanded with bisphosphonate pamidronate (PAM) and cells were used in autologous cellular systems ex vivo. These cells (a) are potent cytotoxic effectors able to efficiently inhibit HIV replication ex vivo, (b) degranulate in the presence of autologous infected CD4+ T cells, and (c) specifically clear latently infected cells after latency reversal with vorinostat. This is the first proof of concept to our knowledge showing that γδ T cells target and clear autologous HIV reservoirs upon latency reversal. Our results open potentially new insights into the immunotherapeutic use of γδ T cells for current interventions in HIV eradication strategies.
Keywords: AIDS/HIV; Immunotherapy.