Effective antiretroviral therapy (ART) has transitioned HIV to a chronic disease, with more than 50% of people living with HIV (PLWH) being over the age of 50. HIV targets activated CD4+ T cells expressing HIV-specific co-receptors (CCR5 and CXCR4). Previously, we reported that chronic binge alcohol (CBA)-administered male rhesus macaques had a higher percentage of gut CD4+ T cells expressing simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) co-receptor CXCR4. Evidence also suggests that gonadal hormone loss increased activated peripheral T cells. Further, mitochondrial function is critical for HIV replication and alcohol dysregulates mitochondrial homeostasis. Hence, we tested the hypothesis that CBA and ovariectomy (OVX) increase circulating activated CD4+ T cells expressing SIV co-receptors and dysregulate mitochondrial homeostasis in SIV-infected female rhesus macaques. Results showed that at the study end-point, CBA/SHAM animals had increased peripheral CD4+ T cell SIV co-receptor expression, and a lower CD4+ T cell count compared to CBA/OVX animals. CBA and OVX animals had altered peripheral immune cell gene expression important for maintaining mitochondrial homeostasis. These results provide insights into how at-risk alcohol use could potentially impact viral expression in cellular reservoirs, particularly in SIV-infected ovariectomized rhesus macaques.
Keywords: CCR5; CD4+ T cell; CXCR4; HIV; SIV; alcohol; mitochondria; ovariectomy.