Expansion and Productive HIV-1 Infection of Foxp3 Positive CD4 T Cells at Pleural Sites of Hiv/Tb Co-Infection
Christina S Hirsch1 , Joy Baseke2 , John Lusiba Kafuluma3 , Mary Nserko3 , Harriet Mayanja-Kizza2,3 and Zahra Toossi1,4*
Journal Title:Journal of Clinical And Experimental Immunology
Backgrounds: CD4 T-cells expressing Foxp3 are expanded systemically during active tuberculosis (TB) regardless of HIV-1 co-infection. Foxp3+ CD4 T cells are targets of HIV-1 infection. However, expansion of HIV-1 infected Foxp3+ CD4 T cells at sites of HIV/TB co-infection, and whether they contribute to promotion of HIV-1 viral activity is not known. Methods: Pleural fluid mononuclear cells (PFMC) from HIV/TB co-infected patients with pleural TB were characterized by immune-staining and FACS analysis for surface markers CD4, CD127, CCR5, CXCR4, HLA-DR and intracellular expression of Foxp3, HIVp24, IFN-γ and Bcl-2. Whole PFMC and bead separated CD4+CD25+CD127- T cells were assessed for HIV-1 LTR strong stop (SS) DNA by real-time PCR, which represents viral DNA post cell entry and initiation of reverse transcription. Results: High numbers of HIV-1 p24 positive Foxp3+ and Foxp3+CD127– CD4 T cells were identified in PFMC from HIV/TB co-infected subjects. CD4+Foxp3+CD127– T cells displayed high expression of the cellular activation marker, HLA-DR. Further, expression of the HIV-1 co-receptors, CCR5 and CXCR4, were higher on CD4+Foxp3+T cells compared to CD4+Foxp3- T cells. Purified CD4+CD25+CD127– T cells isolated from PFMC of HIV/TB co-infected patients, were over 90% CD4+Foxp3+T cells, and exhibited higher HIV-1 SS DNA as compared to whole PFMC, and as compared to CD4+CD25+CD127– T cells from an HIV-infected subject with pleural mesothelioma. HIV-1 p24+ Foxp3+ CD4+T cells from HIV/TB patients higher in Bcl-2 expression as compared to both HIV-1 p24+ Foxp3- CD4 T cells, and Foxp3+ CD4+T cells without HIV-p24 expression. Conclusion: Foxp3+ CD4 T cells in PFMC from HIV/TB co-infected subjects are predisposed to productive HIV-1 infection and have survival advantage as compared to Foxp3 negative CD4 T cells.