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Distinct Expression Patterns of CD69 in Mucosal and Systemic Lymphoid Tissues in Primary SIV Infection of Rhesus Macaques
Published: Wednesday, November 09, 2011
Author: Xiaolei Wang et al.

by Xiaolei Wang, Huanbin Xu, Xavier Alvarez, Bapi Pahar, Terri Moroney-Rasmussen, Andrew A. Lackner, Ronald S. Veazey

Although the intestinal tract plays a major role in early human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, the role of immune activation and viral replication in intestinal tissues is not completely understood. Further, increasing evidence suggests the early leukocyte activation antigen CD69 may be involved in the development or regulation of important T cell subsets, as well as a major regulatory molecule of immune responses. Using the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) rhesus macaque model, we compared expression of CD69 on T cells from the intestine, spleen, lymph nodes, and blood of normal and SIV-infected macaques throughout infection. In uninfected macaques, the majority of intestinal lamina propria CD4+ T cells had a memory (CD95+) phenotype and co-expressed CD69, and essentially all intestinal CCR5+ cells co-expressed CD69. In contrast, systemic lymphoid tissues had far fewer CD69+ T cells, and many had a naïve phenotype. Further, marked, selective depletion of intestinal CD4+CD69+ T cells occurred in early SIV infection, and this depletion persisted throughout infection. Markedly increased levels of CD8+CD69+ T cells were detected after SIV infection in virtually all tissues, including the intestine. Further, confocal microscopy demonstrated selective, productive infection of CD3+CD69+ T cells in the intestine in early infection. Combined, these results indicate CD69+CD4+ T cells are a major early target for viral infection, and their rapid loss by direct infection may have profound effects on intestinal immune regulation in HIV infected patients.