Fat Tissue Identified As Important Reservoir of HIV Infection

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Christine Bourgeois
Unité UMR 1184 / Centre IMVA
CR1 INSERM, Coordinatrice site Bicêtre
Le Kremlin-Bicêtre Cedex

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Antiretroviral therapy (ART)  treatment in HIV infected patients had successfully reduced the development of AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome). However, chronic HIV infection in ART treated patients exhibit rapid uprising of viral load following ART interruption indicating that the virus is not eradicated and persist in some cellular or anatomical sites that are called “reservoir”.

Secondly, ART controlled HIV-infected patients exhibit low grade inflammation developing despite efficient viral control. This low grade inflammation has been associated with non AIDS related pathologies. The aim of our work was to identify site that may combine viral persistence and inflammatory potential. We believed that adipose tissue was a very promising candidate because it included the major targets of HIV infection (CD4 T cells, and macrophages) and exhibited a highly pro-inflammatory potential. Although adipose tissue has been extensively studied as a target of antiretroviral toxicity, we readdress the role of adipose tissue as a reservoir and a site of inflammation. We demonstrated that indeed, adipose tissue from  Antiretroviral therapy controlled HIV-infected patients contained infected CD4 T cells that upon in vitro reactivation were able to produce HIV RNA. These results are extremely important because adipose tissue represents 15%-20% of body weight and is diffusely located. We thus identify a large new reservoir.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: The main information is that we are progressing on the identification of the viral reservoir: increasing evidence identify novel site of viral persistence. The identification of adipose tissue as an important site involved in the pathophysiology of HIV infection is highly valuable because adipose tissue can be submitted to therapeutic modulation. One may consider the impact of modifying quantitatively and/or qualitatively adipose tissue in order to reduce the size of viral reservoirs.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: The contribution of adipose tissue both as an inflammatory site and a viral reservoir need to be further investigated. Adipose tissue biology may differ depending of various factors such as gender, age, location and these aspects will need to be considered. We are also extremely excited to evaluate whether metabolic modulation affecting adipose tissue may reduce the size of the viral reservoir.


PLOS publication:

Adipose Tissue Is a Neglected Viral Reservoir and an Inflammatory Site during Chronic HIV and SIV Infection

Abderaouf Damouche,Thierry Lazure ,Christine Bourgeois

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Christine Bourgeois (2015). Fat Tissue Identified As Important Reservoir of HIV Infection