Proliferation of HIV-infected renal epithelial cells following virus acquisition from infected macrophages

Kelly Hughes, Guray Akturk, Sacha Gnjatic, Benjamin Chen, Mary Klotman, Maria Blasi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: HIV-1 can infect and persist in different organs and tissues, resulting in the generation of multiple viral compartments and reservoirs. Increasing evidence supports the kidney as such a reservoir. Previous work demonstrated that HIV-1 infected CD4 T-cells transfer virus to renal tubule epithelial (RTE) cells through cell-to-cell contact. In addition to CD4 T cells, macrophages represent the other major target of HIV-1. Renal macrophages induce and regulate inflammatory responses and are critical to homeostatic regulation of the kidney environment. Combined with their ability to harbour virus, macrophages may also play an important role in the spread of HIV-1 infection in the kidney. DESIGN AND METHODS: Multiparametric histochemistry analysis was performed on kidney biopsies from individuals with HIV-1 associated nephropathy (HIVAN). Primary monocyte-derived macrophages were infected with a GFP-expressing replication competent HIV-1. HIV-1 transfer from macrophages to RTE cells was carried out in a coculture system and evaluated by fluorescence-microscopy and flow-cytometry. Live imaging was performed to assess the fate of HIV-1 infected RTE cells over time. RESULTS: We show that macrophages are abundantly present in the renal inflammatory infiltrate of individuals with HIVAN. We observed contact-dependent HIV-1 transfer from infected macrophages to both primary and immortalized renal cells. Live imaging of HIV-1 infected RTE cells revealed four different fates: proliferation, hypertrophy, latency and cell death. CONCLUSION: Our study suggests that macrophages may play a role in the dissemination of HIV-1 in the kidney and that proliferation of infected renal cells may contribute to HIV-1 persistence in this compartment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1581-1591
Number of pages11
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2020


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