CTLA-4 blockade decreases TGF-β, IDO, and viral RNA expression in tissues of SIVmac251-infected macaques

Anna Hryniewicz, Adriano Boasso, Yvette Edghill-Smith, Monica Vaccari, Dietmar Fuchs, David Venzon, Janos Nacsa, Michael R. Betts, Wen Po Tsai, Jean Michel Heraud, Brigitte Beer, Diann Blanset, Claire Chougnet, Israel Lowy, Gene M. Shearer, Genoveffa Franchini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

143 Scopus citations


Regulatory T (Treg) cells are a subset of CD25 +CD4+ T cells that constitutively express high levels of cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA-4) and suppress T-cell activation and effector functions. Treg cells are increased in tissues of individuals infected with HIV-1 and macaques infected with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIVmac251). In HIV-1 infection, T reg cells could exert contrasting effects: they may limit viral replication by decreasing immune activation, or they may increase viral replication by suppressing virus-specific immune response. Thus, the outcome of blocking Treg function in HIV/SIV should be empirically tested. Here, we demonstrate that CD25+ T cells inhibit virus-specific T-cell responses in cultured T cells from blood and lymph nodes of SIV-infected macaques. We investigated the impact of CTLA-4 blockade using the anti-CTLA-4 human antibody MDX-010 in SIV-infected macaques treated with antiretroviral therapy (ART). CTLA-4 blockade decreased expression of the tryptophan-depleting enzyme IDO and the level of the suppressive cytokine transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) in tissues. CTLA-4 blockade was associated with decreased viral RNA levels in lymph nodes and an increase in the effector function of both SIV-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. Therefore, blunting Treg function in macaques infected with SIV did not have detrimental virologic effects and may provide a valuable approach to complement ART and therapeutic vaccination in the treatment of HIV-1 infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3834-3842
Number of pages9
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2006


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