CD8 lymphocytes mitigate HIV-1 persistence in lymph node follicular helper T cells during hyperacute-treated infection

Nat Commun. 2022 Jul 12;13(1):4041. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-31692-8.


HIV persistence in tissue sites despite ART is a major barrier to HIV cure. Detailed studies of HIV-infected cells and immune responses in native lymph node tissue environment is critical for gaining insight into immune mechanisms impacting HIV persistence and clearance in tissue sanctuary sites. We compared HIV persistence and HIV-specific T cell responses in lymph node biopsies obtained from 14 individuals who initiated therapy in Fiebig stages I/II, 5 persons treated in Fiebig stages III-V and 17 late treated individuals who initiated ART in Fiebig VI and beyond. Using multicolor immunofluorescence staining and in situ hybridization, we detect HIV RNA and/or protein in 12 of 14 Fiebig I/II treated persons on suppressive therapy for 1 to 55 months, and in late treated persons with persistent antigens. CXCR3+ T follicular helper cells harbor the greatest amounts of gag mRNA transcripts. Notably, HIV-specific CD8+ T cells responses are associated with lower HIV antigen burden, suggesting that these responses may contribute to HIV suppression in lymph nodes during therapy. These results reveal HIV persistence despite the initiation of ART in hyperacute infection and highlight the contribution of virus-specific responses to HIV suppression in tissue sanctuaries during suppressive ART.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes
  • HIV Infections* / drug therapy
  • HIV-1*
  • Humans
  • Lymph Nodes
  • T Follicular Helper Cells