Previous studies reported associations between neuropathogenesis and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) compartmentalization in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and between sexual transmission and human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV) compartmentalization in semen. It remains unclear, however, how compartmentalization dynamics change over time. To address this, we used statistical methods and Bayesian phylogenetic approaches to reconstruct temporal dynamics of HIV migration between blood and CSF and between blood and the male genital tract.
We investigated 11 HIV-infected individuals with paired semen and blood samples and 4 individuals with paired CSF and blood samples. Aligned partial HIV env sequences were analyzed by (1) phylogenetic reconstruction, using a Bayesian Markov-chain Monte Carlo approach; (2) evaluation of viral compartmentalization, using tree-based and distance-based methods; and (3) analysis of migration events, using a discrete Bayesian asymmetric phylogeographic approach of diffusion with Markov jump counts estimation. Finally, we evaluated potential correlates of viral gene flow across anatomical compartments.
We observed bidirectional replenishment of viral compartments and asynchronous peaks of viral migration from and to blood over time, suggesting that disruption of viral compartment is transient and directionally selected. These findings imply that viral subpopulations in anatomical sites are an active part of the whole viral population and that compartmental reservoirs could have implications in future eradication studies.