Polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMNs), the most abundant white blood cells, are recruited rapidly to sites of infection to exert potent anti-microbial activity. Information regarding their role in infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is limited. Here we report that addition of PMNs to HIV-infected cultures of human tonsil tissue or peripheral blood mononuclear cells causes immediate and long-lasting suppression of HIV-1 spread and virus-induced depletion of CD4 T cells. This inhibition of HIV-1 spread strictly requires PMN contact with infected cells and is not mediated by soluble factors. 2-Photon (2PM) imaging visualized contacts of PMNs with HIV-1-infected CD4 T cells in tonsil tissue that do not result in lysis or uptake of infected cells. The anti-HIV activity of PMNs also does not involve degranulation, formation of neutrophil extracellular traps, or integrin-dependent cell communication. These results reveal that PMNs efficiently blunt HIV-1 replication in primary target cells and tissue by an unconventional mechanism.
Keywords: HIV-1 replication; antiviral activity; human tonsil explant culture; polymorphonuclear neutrophils.
© 2021 The Author(s).