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Perturbations in the CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cell population of the GALT during acute SIV infection

CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells (Tregs) suppress the activation and proliferation of effector lymphocytes. Dysregulation of these cells in the peripheral blood and lymphoid tissue has been reported in HIV-1 infection. To elucidate the role of Tregs in HIV-1-induced GALT depletion of CD4+ T cells, we used the SIV/pigtailed macaque model of HIV-1 disease to determine the distribution of Tregs in a setting of acute infection, using FoxP3 as a marker for Tregs. CD4+ T cells from the ileum, lymph nodes, and peripheral blood were isolated on day 4 (n = 3), 14 (n = 3), and 114 (n = 6) post-inoculation from SIV-infected pigtailed macaques. Real-time RT-PCR was used to quantitate FOXP3 copy number in SIV-infected and uninfected control macaques (n = 5). Expression of FoxP3 in the ileum was decreased at all stages of infection when compared to the levels in uninfected macaques. In addition, functional analysis of ileal lamina propria CD4+ T cells from SIV-infected macaques revealed a lack of suppressive activity, suggesting the absence of Tregs in that compartment. These results indicate that Tregs are depleted in the GALT of SIV-infected macaques suggesting a role for the loss of Treg-mediated suppression in the pathogenesis of the disease.

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Correspondence to Amanda J Chase.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Keywords

  • Lymphoid Tissue
  • Lamina Propria
  • Acute Infection
  • Suppressive Activity
  • Uninfected Control