Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950)

Preferential Destruction of Interstitial Macrophages over Alveolar Macrophages as a Cause of Pulmonary Disease in Simian Immunodeficiency Virus-Infected Rhesus Macaques.

PMID 26432896


To our knowledge, this study demonstrates for the first time that the AIDS virus differentially impacts two distinct subsets of lung macrophages. The predominant macrophages harvested by bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL), alveolar macrophages (AMs), are routinely used in studies on human lung macrophages, are long-lived cells, and exhibit low turnover. Interstitial macrophages (IMs) inhabit the lung tissue, are not recovered with BAL, are shorter-lived, and exhibit higher baseline turnover rates distinct from AMs. We examined the effects of SIV infection on AMs in BAL fluid and IMs in lung tissue of rhesus macaques. SIV infection produced massive cell death of IMs that contributed to lung tissue damage. Conversely, SIV infection induced minimal cell death of AMs, and these cells maintained the lower turnover rate throughout the duration of infection. This indicates that SIV produces lung tissue damage through destruction of IMs, whereas the longer-lived AMs may serve as a virus reservoir to facilitate HIV persistence.