A major pathogenic feature associated with HIV infection is lymphoid fibrosis, which persists during antiretroviral therapy (ART). Lymphoid tissues play critical roles in the generation of antigen-specific immune response, and fibrosis disrupts the stromal network of lymphoid tissues, resulting in impaired immune cell trafficking and function, as well as immunodeficiency. Developing an animal model for investigating the impact of HIV infection-induced lymphoid tissue fibrosis on immunodeficiency and immune cell impairment is critical for therapeutics development and clinical translation. Said model will enable in vivo mechanistic studies, thus complementing the well-established surrogate model of SIV infection-induced lymphoid tissue fibrosis in macaques. We developed a potentially novel human immune system-humanized mouse model by coengrafting autologous fetal thymus, spleen, and liver organoids under the kidney capsule, along with i.v. injection of autologous fetal liver-derived hematopoietic stem cells, thus termed the BM-liver-thymus-spleen (BLTS) humanized mouse model. BLTS humanized mouse model supports development of human immune cells and human lymphoid organoids (human thymus and spleen organoids). HIV infection in BLTS humanized mice results in progressive fibrosis in human lymphoid tissues, which was associated with immunodeficiency in the lymphoid tissues, and lymphoid tissue fibrosis persists during ART, thus recapitulating clinical outcomes.
Keywords: AIDS/HIV; Fibrosis; Mouse models; Organogenesis.