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SIV and Mycobacterium tuberculosis synergy within the granuloma accelerates the reactivation pattern of latent tuberculosis

By Collin R Diedrich, Tara Rutledge, Pauline Maiello, Tonilynn M Baranowski, Alexander G. White, H. Jacob Borish, Paul Karell, Forrest Hopkins, Jessica Brown, Sarah M Fortune, JoAnne L Flynn, Zandrea Ambrose, Philana Ling Lin

Posted 21 Feb 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.02.21.959353 (published DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1008413)

Human immunodeficiency virus infection is the most common risk factor for severe forms of tuberculosis (TB), regardless of CD4 T cell count. Using a well-characterized cynomolgus macaque model of human TB, we compared radiographic, immunologic and microbiologic characteristics of early (subclinical) reactivation of latent M. tuberculosis ( Mtb ) infection among animals subsequently infected with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) or who underwent anti-CD4 depletion by a depletion antibody. CD4 depleted animals had significantly fewer CD4 T cells within granulomas compared to Mtb/SIV co-infected and Mtb-only control animals. After 2 months of treatment, subclinical reactivation occurred at similar rates among CD4 depleted (5 of 7 animals) and SIV infected animals (4 of 8 animals). However, SIV-induced reactivation was associated with more dissemination of lung granulomas that were permissive to Mtb growth resulting in greater bacterial burden within granulomas compared to CD4 depleted reactivators. Granulomas from Mtb/SIV animals displayed a more robust T cell activation profile (IFN-α, IFN-γ, TNF, IL-17, IL-2, IL-10, IL-4 and granzyme B) compared to Mtb/αCD4 animals and controls though these effectors did not protect against reactivation or dissemination, but instead may be related to increased viral and/or Mtb antigens. SIV replication within the granuloma was associated with reactivation, greater overall Mtb growth and Mtb killing resulting in greater overall Mtb burden. These data support that SIV disrupts protective immune responses against latent Mtb infection beyond the loss of CD4 T cells, and that synergy between SIV and Mtb occurs within granulomas.

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