Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is characterized by a progressive loss of memory CD4+ T cells in multiple tissues, especially at mucosal surfaces where most of these cells reside. Although antiretroviral therapy (ART) suppresses viral replication and promotes the recovery of peripheral CD4+ T cells, HIV-infected patients fail to fully reconstitute the CD4+ T-cell pool at mucosal sites. IL-15 has been shown to preferentially expand memory-phenotype T cells and promote their migration to nonlymphoid tissues. Here we examined IL-15 treatment in combination with highly active ART in chronically SIV-infected rhesus macaques and found that IL-15 delayed viral suppression and failed to enhance ART-induced total and antigen-specific CD4+ T-cell reconstitution at mucosal and lymphoid sites. IL-15 was able to induce the transient proliferation of SIV-specific, CMV-specific, and total memory CD8+ T cells, but not of SIV-specific or total CD4+ T cells. Moreover, upon treatment interruption, macaques receiving combined IL-15+ART lost CD4+ T cells faster than those receiving ART alone. These results suggest that the combination of IL-15 with highly active ART is not more efficient than ART alone in promoting CD4+ T-cell recovery in HIV-infected individuals and may accelerate CD4+ T-cell loss after treatment interruption.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology