Plasmacytoid dendritic cell and functional HIV Gag p55-specific T cells before treatment interruption can inform set-point plasma HIV viral load after treatment interruption in chronically suppressed HIV-1(+) patients.

PMID 25684333


The identification of immune correlates of HIV control is important for the design of immunotherapies that could support cure or antiretroviral therapy (ART) intensification-related strategies. ART interruptions may facilitate this task through exposure of an ART partially reconstituted immune system to endogenous virus. We investigated the relationship between set-point plasma HIV viral load (VL) during an ART interruption and innate/adaptive parameters before or after interruption. Dendritic cell (DC), natural killer (NK) cell and HIV Gag p55-specific T-cell functional responses were measured in paired cryopreserved peripheral blood mononuclear cells obtained at the beginning (on ART) and at set-point of an open-ended interruption from 31 ART-suppressed chronically HIV-1(+) patients. Spearman correlation and linear regression modeling were used. Frequencies of plasmacytoid DC (pDC), and HIV Gag p55-specific CD3(+)  CD4(-)  perforin(+)  IFN-γ(+) cells at the beginning of interruption associated negatively with set-point plasma VL. Inclusion of both variables with interaction into a model resulted in the best fit (adjusted R(2)  = 0·6874). Frequencies of pDC or HIV Gag p55-specific CD3(+)  CD4(-)  CSFE(lo)  CD107a(+) cells at set-point associated negatively with set-point plasma VL. The dual contribution of pDC and anti-HIV T-cell responses to viral control, supported by our models, suggests that these variables may serve as immune correlates of viral control and could be integrated in cure or ART-intensification strategies.