Chronic Immune Activation in HIV-1 Infection Contributes to Reduced Interferon Alpha Production via Enhanced CD40:CD40 Ligand Interaction
by Norbert Donhauser, Kathrin Pritschet, Martin Helm, Thomas Harrer, Philipp Schuster, Moritz Ries, Georg Bischof, Jörg Vollmer, Sigrun Smola, Barbara Schmidt, for the German Competence Network HIV/AIDS
Although a signature of increased interferon (IFN-)alpha production is observed in HIV-1 infection, the response of circulating plasmacytoid dendritic cells (PDC) to Toll-like receptor ligand stimulation is substantially impaired. This functional PDC deficit, which we specifically observed in HIV-1 infected individuals with less than 500 CD4+ T cells/µl, is not well understood. We provide evidence that the peripheral IFN-alpha production in HIV-1 infection is actively suppressed by the enhanced interaction of CD40 ligand (CD40L), a member of the tumor necrosis factor family, and its receptor CD40, which are both upregulated upon immune activation. Plasma levels of soluble CD40L were significantly higher in untreated HIV-1 infected individuals (n = 52) than in subjects on long-term antiretroviral therapy (n = 62, p<0.03) and in uninfected control donors (n = 16, p<0.001). Concomitantly, cell-associated CD40L and the expression of the receptor CD40 on the PDC were significantly upregulated in HIV-1 infection (p<0.05). Soluble and cell-associated CD40L inhibited the PDC-derived IFN-alpha production by CpG oligodeoxynucleotides dose-dependently. This suppressive effect was observed at much lower, physiological CD40L concentrations in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) of HIV-1 infected individuals compared to controls (p<0.05). The CpG-induced IFN-alpha production in PBMC of HIV-1 infected donors was directly correlated with PDC and CD4+ T cell counts, and inversely correlated with the viral loads (p<0.001). In HIV-1 infected donors with less than 500 CD4+ T cells/µl, the CpG-induced IFN-alpha production was significantly correlated with the percentage of CD40-expressing PDC and the level of CD40 expression on these cells (p<0.05), whereas CD40L plasma levels played a minor role. In addition, low-dose CD40L contributed to the enhanced production of interleukin 6 and 8 in PBMC of HIV-1 infected donors compared to controls. Our data support the conclusion that the chronic immune activation in HIV-1 infection impairs peripheral PDC innate immune responses at least in part via enhanced CD40:CD40L interactions.
For the full article visit: Chronic Immune Activation in HIV-1 Infection Contributes to Reduced Interferon Alpha Production via Enhanced CD40:CD40 Ligand Interaction
Syndicated from:PLoS ONE
Article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License.