Human immunodeficiency virus persistence and T-cell activation in blood, rectal, and lymph node tissue in human immunodeficiency virus-infected individuals receiving suppressive antiretroviral therapy

Gabriela Khoury, Rémi Fromentin, Ajantha Solomon, Wendy Hartogensis, Marisela Killian, Rebecca Hoh, Ma Somsouk, Peter W. Hunt, Valerie Girling, Elizabeth J Sinclair, Peter Bacchetti, Jenny L. Anderson, Frederick M. Hecht, Steven G. Deeks, Paul U. Cameron, Nicolas Chomont, Sharon R. Lewin

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39 Citations (Scopus)


Background. Immune activation and inflammation remain elevated in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected individuals receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) and may contribute to HIV persistence. Methods. Using flow cytometry expression of CD38, HLA-DR and PD-1 were measured in blood (n = 48), lymph node (LN; n = 9), and rectal tissue (n = 17) from virally suppressed individuals. Total and integrated HIV DNA, 2-LTR circles, and cell-associated unspliced HIV RNA were quantified. Results. CD4+ T cells from rectal tissue had a higher frequency of integrated HIV DNA compared with blood (4.26 fold-change in DNA; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.61-7.00; P <.001) and LN (2.32 fold-change in DNA; 95% CI = 1.22-4.41; P =.01). In rectal tissue, there were positive associations between integrated HIV DNA with PD-1+ CD4+ T-cells (1.44 fold-change in integrated HIV DNA per 10-unit increase in PD-1+ CD4+ T cells; 95% CI = 1.01-2.05; P =.045) and CD38+HLA-DR+ CD8+ T cells (1.40 foldchange in integrated HIV DNA per 1-unit increase in CD38+HLA-DR+ CD8+ T cells; 95% CI = 1.05-1.86; P =.02). Both associations were independent of current and nadir CD4+ T-cell counts. Conclusions. During ART, rectal tissue is an important reservoir for HIV persistence with a high frequency of activated CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. PD-1 may represent a marker of HIV persistence in rectal tissue.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)911-919
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2017


  • Antiretroviral therapy
  • HIV
  • HIV persistence
  • Lymph node
  • PD-1
  • Rectum
  • Reservoir
  • T-cell activation

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