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Enrichment of the HIV reservoir in CD32+ CD4 T cells occurs early in blood and tissue

By Genevieve Martin, Matthew Pace, John P Thornhill, Chansavath Phetsouphanh, Jodi Meyerowitz, Morgane Gossez, Emily Hopkins, Helen Brown, Nicola Robinson, Natalia Olejniczak, Gita Ramjee, Pontiano Kaleebu, Kholoud Porter, Christian Willberg, Paul Klenerman, Nneka Nwokolo, Julie Fox, Sarah Fidler, John Frater

Posted 27 Jul 2017
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/169342 (published DOI: 10.3389/fimmu.2018.00928)

The Fc receptor CD32 has been proposed as a marker for CD4 T cells latently infected with HIV. We demonstrate that enrichment for HIV DNA in CD32+ CD4 T cells can be found early in infection in both tissue and blood. However, we find no evidence for a correlation between CD32 expression on CD4 T cells and either HIV DNA levels or time to rebound viraemia following treatment interruption. CD32+ CD4 T cells have a more differentiated memory phenotype, and high levels of expression of immune checkpoint receptors PD-1, Tim-3 and TIGIT as well as the activation marker, HLA DR. There was no difference in the phenotype or frequency of CD32 expressing cells prior to or after the initiation of antiretroviral therapy, or compared with healthy controls, suggesting that preferential infection or survival, rather than up-regulation, may be responsible for the observed enrichment of proviral HIV DNA in CD32+ CD4 T cells.

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