HIV establishes a latent infection at different degrees within naïve (TN) or central (TCM) and effector memory (TEM) CD4+ T cell. Studying patients in whom HIV production was suppressed by combined antiretroviral therapy, our main aim was to find which factors are related or can influence intracellular viral reservoir in different CD4+ T-cell subsets.Methods:
We enrolled 32 HIV+ patients successfully treated for more than 2 years, with a CD4+ T-cell count more than 500 cells/μl and plasma viremia undetectable from at least 1 year. Proviral HIV-DNA, the amount of cells expressing signal-joint T-cell receptor rearrangement excision circles and telomere length were quantified by droplet digital PCR in highly purified, sorted CD4+ T-cell subsets; plasma IL-7 and IL-15 were measured by ELISA.Results:
HIV-DNA was significantly lower in TN cells compared with TCM or to TEM. Conversely, TN cells contained more signal-joint T-cell receptor rearrangement excision circles compared with TCM or to TEM; no appreciable changes were observed in telomere length. HIV-DNA content was significantly higher in TN and TCM cells, but not in TEM, from patients with shorter time of treatment, or in those with lower CD4+ : CD8+ ratio.Conclusion:
Length of treatment or recovery of CD4+ : CD8+ ratio significantly influences viral reservoir in both TN and TCM. Measuring HIV-DNA in purified lymphocyte populations allows a better monitoring of HIV reservoir and could be useful for designing future eradication strategies.