Inhibition of caspase pathways limits CD4+ T cell loss and restores host anti-retroviral function in HIV-1 infected humanized mice with augmented lymphoid tissue

Alex J. Holloway, Tais Saito, Kubra F. Naqvi, Matthew Huante, Xiuzhen Fan, Joshua G. Lisinicchia, Benjamin B. Gelman, Janice J. Endsley, Mark A. Endsley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The study of HIV infection and pathogenicity in physical reservoirs requires a biologically relevant model. The human immune system (HIS) mouse is an established model of HIV infection, but defects in immune tissue reconstitution remain a challenge for examining pathology in tissues. We utilized exogenous injection of the human recombinant FMS-like tyrosine kinase 3 ligand (rFLT-3 L) into the hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) cord blood HIS mouse model to significantly expand the total area of lymph node (LN) and the number of circulating human T cells. The results enabled visualization and quantification of HIV infectivity, CD4 T cell depletion and other measures of pathogenesis in the secondary lymphoid tissues of the spleen and LN. Treatment with the Caspase-1/4 inhibitor VX-765 limited CD4+ T cell loss in the spleen and reduced viral load in both the spleen and axillary LN. In situ hybridization further demonstrated a decrease in viral RNA in both the spleen and LN. Transcriptomic analysis revealed that in vivo inhibition of caspase-1/4 led to an upregulation in host HIV restriction factors including SAMHD1 and APOBEC3A. These findings highlight the use of rFLT-3 L to augment human immune system characteristics in HIS mice to support investigations of HIV pathogenesis and test host directed therapies, though further refinements are needed to further augment LN architecture and cellular populations. The results further provide in vivo evidence of the potential to target inflammasome pathways as an avenue of host-directed therapy to limit immune dysfunction and virus replication in tissue compartments of HIV+ persons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8
Pages (from-to)8
JournalRetrovirology
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2 2024

Keywords

  • Caspase − 1
  • HIV-1
  • Lymphoid tissue
  • Pathogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases

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