Germinal center resident follicular helper T (TFH) cells in lymphoid follicles are a potential sanctuary for HIV/simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) replication. But the dynamics of germinal centers upon early initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART) and their potential role in the formation of viral sanctuaries post-SIV infection are not fully understood.Design:
Sequential lymph node biopsies (n = 10) were collected from SIVmac239-infected rhesus macaques before infection, at 5 weeks postinfection/pre-ART, 6 and 12 weeks following ART initiation. These tissues and cells were analyzed for frequencies of TFH cells and assignment of germinal center scores.Results:
Modest but significant increases in TFH cells and hyperplastic follicles with large germinal centers were noted during the acute phase of SIV infection (week 5/pre-ART). However, 6 weeks after ART initiation, substantial increases in germinal center TFH cells, germinal center B cells, hyperplastic follicles with large germinal centers, and abundant local IL-21 production were observed, whereas levels of SIV RNA and DNA of lymph nodes had decreased to barely detectable values along with barely detectable levels of SIV antibody-producing cells. An additional 6 weeks of ART did not appreciably decrease germinal center TFH or germinal center scores.Conclusion:
Thus, although early ART rapidly controls SIV replication, it does not regulate early lymphoid activation, which may contribute to the seeding and magnitude of viral reservoirs.