Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 14530372
J. Immunol. 2003 Oct;171(8):4447-53
The main failure of antiretroviral therapy is the lack of restoration of HIV-specific CD4(+) T cells. IL-7, which has been shown to be a crucial cytokine for thymopoiesis, has been envisaged as an additive therapeutic strategy. However, in vitro studies suggest that IL-7 might sustain HIV replication in thymocytes and T lymphocytes. Therefore, in the present study, we evaluated the effect of IL-7 on both T cell renewal and viral load in SIVmac-infected young macaques in the absence of antiretroviral therapy. This evaluation was conducted during the asymptomatic phase in view of a potential treatment of HIV patients. We show that IL-7 induces both a central renewal and a peripheral expansion of T lymphocytes associated with cell activation. No alarming modulation of the other hemopoietic cells was observed. No increase in the viral load was shown in blood or lymph nodes. These data strengthen the rationale for the use of IL-7 as an efficient immunotherapy in AIDS.