Interleukin-7-treated naive T cells can be productively infected by T-cell-adapted and primary isolates of human immunodeficiency virus 1

Carolyn M. Steffens, Elizabeth Z. Managlia, Alan Landay, Lena Al-Harthi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) gag/pol DNA can be detected in naive T cells, whether naive T cells can be productively infected by HIV is still questionable. Given that interleukin-7 (IL-7) is a prospective therapeutic immunomodulator for the treatment of HIV, we evaluated the effect of IL-7 on promoting naive T-cell infection of laboratory-adapted (IIIB), M-tropic, and primary isolates of HIV. Initially, we determined that the 3 cell surface markers widely used to identify naive T cells (CD45RA+CD45RO-, CD45RA+CD62L+, and CD45RO-CD27+CD95low) are all equivalent in T-cell receptor excision circle content, a marker for the replicative history of a cell as well as for de novo T cells. We therefore used CD45RA+CD45RO- expression to define naive T cells in this study. We demonstrate that although untreated or IL-2-treated naive T cells are not productively infected by HIV, IL-7 pretreatment mediated the productive infection of laboratory-adapted, M-tropic, and primary isolates of HIV as determined by p24 core antigen production. This upregulation was between 8- and 58-fold, depending on the HIV isolate used. IL-7 pretreatment of naive T cells also potently up-regulated surface expression of CXCR4 but not CCR5 and mediated the expansion of naive T cells without the acquisition of the primed CD45RO phenotype. Collectively, these data indicate that IL-7 augments naive T-cell susceptibility to HIV and that under the appropriate environmental milieu, naive T cells may be a source of HIV productive infection. This information needs to be considered in evaluating IL-7 as an immunomodulator for HIV-infected patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3310-3318
Number of pages9
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology


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