Chemokine/CD4 receptor density ratios correlate with HIV replication in lymph node and peripheral blood of HIV-infected individuals

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ObjectivesLymphoid tissue is a major reservoir for virus replication in HIV-infected subjects. The relationship of CCR5 and CXCR4 coreceptor density and HIV replication in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and lymph node (LN) mononuclear cells (LNMC) of HIV-infected subjects was examined.MethodsPBMC and cervical LNMC from 12 HIV-infected patients were examined for virological and immunological parameters including chemokine receptor density, HIV plasma and cellular viral load, coreceptor usage and CD38/HLA-DR expression.ResultsThe number of CCR5 and CXCR4 molecules on CD4 lymphocytes in the LN were significantly higher than in PBMC. In contrast the number of CD4 molecules/CD4 T cell was higher in PBMC than in LNMC. The CXCR4/CD4 and CCR5/CD4 ratios in the LN were significantly higher than in the PBMC. This was associated with a cellular viral load in the LN that was ~110-fold higher than in PBMC. The absolute number of coreceptor molecules per cell did not correlate with the viral load. However, the CCR5/CD4 and CXCR4/CD4 ratios in the LN positively correlated with HIV cellular and plasma RNA. Characterization of the viral isolates suggested an association between clinical isolates using a distinct coreceptor and the upregulation of the corresponding chemokine receptor.ConclusionsThe ratios of chemokine receptors to CD4 molecules in CD4 T cells from LN is higher than in PBMC and may account for the relative difference in cellular viral load in these compartments. Additionally, the coreceptor/CD4 ratios, particularly in the lymphoid tissue, were highly related to HIV replication.

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