Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 19317901
Polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMN) from chronically HIV-infected individuals have been reported to be more prone to die. However, although non-human primates models have been extensively used for improving our knowledge on T cell immunity, the impact of SIV-infection on PMN, in relationships with disease severity, has never been assessed. In our study, we demonstrate that PMN from Rhesus macaques (RMs) of Chinese origin chronically infected with the virulent strain SIVmac251 display increased susceptibility to undergo apoptosis as compared to PMN from RMs infected with the non-pathogenic SIVDeltanef strain. PMN apoptosis was significantly increased in RMs progressing faster to AIDS as compared to non-progressors RMs. Furthermore, the percentage of apoptotic cells correlated with PMN activation state reflected by increased CD11b expression and reactive oxygen species production. Interestingly, whereas inflammatory cytokines IL-8 and IL-1beta prevent in vitro PMN death, the levels of those cytokines were low in RMs progressing towards AIDS. Altogether, increased PMN death during SIV infection is a new pathogenic effect associated with AIDS progression, adding to the long list of markers associated with disruption of defense against infection.