Permissive factors for HIV-1 infection of macrophages

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Immunodeficiency, the consequence of HIV-1 infection, predisposes the host to opportunistic infections. In turn, opportunistic pathogens influence target cell susceptibility to HIV-1 infection and replication. Although the advent of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has altered these sequelae, co-infections may prevail in some parts of the world and in failed HAART regimens. Moreover, immune activation as occurs in tonsil and non-infectious mucosal inflammatory lesions may also be associated with proximal sites of viral replication. These connections between enhancement of HIV-1 infection and activation/inflammation warrant further elucidation of the factors promoting permissiveness to HIV-1 infection. Using the opportunistic pathogen Mycobacterium avium as an in vitro model, we demonstrated that co-infection facilitated HIV-1 infection of monocyte-macrophages by multiple pathways. M. avium activated NF-κB, the downstream consequences of which included augmented expression of tumor necrosis factor α and CCR5 receptors, both permissive for sustaining HIV-1 infection. Pronounced viral replication in lymph nodes co-infected with M. avium and HIV-1 paralleled these in vitro Findings. Furthermore, reduction in viral burden is associated with treatment of infected or inflamed tissues, underscoring the link between immune activation and viral replication.

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Journal of Leukocyte Biology

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