Microbial coinfections variably influence HIV-1 infection through immune activation or direct interaction of microorganisms with HIV-1 or its target cells. In this study, we investigated whether exposure of macrophages to bacterial products impacts the susceptibility of these cells to HIV-1 of different cellular tropisms.
We demonstrate that (1) macrophages exposed to bacterial cell wall components such as lipopolysaccharide (LPS) (Gram-negative rods), lipoteichoic acid (Gram-positive cocci), and lipoarabinomannan (Mycobacteria) become highly susceptible to T cell (T)-tropic HIV-1 (which other-wise poorly replicate in macrophages) and variably susceptible to macrophage (M)-tropic HIV-1; (2) LPS-stimulated macrophages secrete a number of soluble factors (i.e., chemokines, interferon, and proinflammatory cytokines) that variably affect HIV infection of macrophages, depending on the virus phenotype in question; and (3) LPS-stimulated macrophages express CCR5 (a major coreceptor for M-tropic HIV-1) at lower levels and CXCR4 (a major coreceptor for T-tropic HIV-1) at higher levels compared with unstimulated macrophages.
We hypothesize that a more favorable environment for T-tropic HIV-1 and a less favorable or even unfavorable environment for M-tropic HIV-1 secondary to exposure of macrophages to those bacterial products may accerelate a transition from M- to T-tropic viral phenotype, which is indicative of disease progression. (J. Clin. Invest. 1998. 102:1540-1550.)