Kynurenine 3-monooxygenase inhibition during acute simian immunodeficiency virus infection lowers PD-1 expression and improves post–combination antiretroviral therapy CD4+ T cell counts and body weight

Louise A. Swainson, Haelee Ahn, Priya Pajanirassa, Vinod Khetarpal, Claire Deleage, Jacob Estes, Peter W. Hunt, Ignacio Munoz-Sanjuan, Joseph M. McCune

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1 Scopus citations


The kynurenine pathway (KP) is a key regulator of many important physiological processes and plays a harmful role in cancer, many neurologic conditions, and chronic viral infections. In HIV infection, KP activity is consistently associated with reduced CD4 T cell counts and elevated levels of T cell activation and viral load; it also independently predicts mortality and morbidity from non-AIDS events. Kynurenine 3-monooxygenase (KMO) is a therapeutically important target in the KP. Using the nonhuman primate model of SIV infection in rhesus macaques, we investigated whether KMO inhibition could slow the course of disease progression. We used a KMO inhibitor, CHDI-340246, to perturb the KP during early acute infection and followed the animals for 1 y to assess clinical outcomes and immune phenotype and function during pre–combination antiretroviral therapy acute infection and combination antiretroviral therapy–treated chronic infection. Inhibition of KMO in acute SIV infection disrupted the KP and prevented SIV-induced increases in downstream metabolites, improving clinical outcome as measured by both increased CD4+ T cell counts and body weight. KMO inhibition increased naive T cell frequency and lowered PD-1 expression in naive and memory T cell subsets. Importantly, early PD-1 expression during acute SIV infection predicted clinical outcomes of body weight and CD4+ T cell counts. Our data indicate that KMO inhibition in early acute SIV infection provides clinical benefit and suggest a rationale for testing KMO inhibition as an adjunctive treatment in SIV/HIV infection to slow the progression of the disease and improve immune reconstitution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)899-910
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 15 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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