Background: During uncontrolled HIV disease, both TNF-related apoptosis inducing ligand (TRAIL) and TRAIL receptor expression are increased. Enhanced TRAIL sensitivity is due to TRAIL receptor up-regulation induced by gp120. As a result of successful antiretroviral therapy TRAIL is down-regulated, and there are fewer TRAIL-sensitive cells. In this setting, we hypothesized that all cells that contain virus, including those productively- and latently-infected, have necessarily been "primed" by gp120 and remain TRAIL-sensitive, whereas uninfected cells remain relatively TRAIL-resistant. Methods and Findings: We evaluated the immunologic and antiviral effects of TRAIL in peripheral blood lymphocytes collected from HIV-infected patients with suppressed viral replication. The peripheral blood lymphocytes were treated with recombinant TRAIL or an equivalent amount of bovine serum albumin as a negative control. Treated cells were then analyzed by quantitative flow cytometry, ELISPOT for CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell function, and limiting dilution microculture for viral burden. Alterations in the cytokine milieu of treated cells were assessed with a multiplex cytokine assay. Treatment with recombinant TRAIL in vitro reduced viral burden in lymphocytes collected from HIV-infected patients with suppressed viral load. TRAIL treatment did not alter the cytokine milieu of treated cells. Moreover, treatment with recombinant TRAIL had no adverse effect on either the quantity or function of immune cells from HIV-infected patients with suppressed viral replication. Conclusions: TRAIL treatment may be an important adjunct to antiretroviral therapy, even in patients with suppressed viral replication, perhaps by inducing apoptosis in cells with latent HIV reservoirs. The absence of adverse effect on the quantity or function of immune cells from HIV-infected patients suggests that there is not a significant level of "bystander death" in uninfected cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)