Although IL-15 has been implicated in the pathogenic hyperimmune activation that drives progressive HIV and SIV infection, as well as in the generation of HIV/SIV target cells, it also supports NK and T cell homeostasis and effector activity, potentially benefiting the host. To understand the role of IL-15 in SIV infection and pathogenesis, we treated two cohorts of SIVmac239- infected rhesus macaques (RM; Macaca mulatta), one with chronic infection, the other with primary infection, with a rhesusized, IL-15-neutralizing mAb (versus an IgG isotype control) for up to 10 wk (n = 7-9 RM per group). In both cohorts, anti-IL-15 was highly efficient at blocking IL-15 signaling in vivo, causing 1) profound depletion of NK cells in blood and tissues throughout the treatment period; 2) substantial, albeit transient, depletion of CD8+ effector memory T cells (TEM) (but not the naive and central memory subsets); and 3) CD4+ and CD8+ TEM hyperproliferation. In primary infection, reduced frequencies of SIV-specific effector T cells in an extralymphoid tissue site were also observed. Despite these effects, the kinetics and extent of SIV replication, CD4+ T cell depletion, and the onset of AIDS were comparable between anti-IL-15- and control-treated groups in both cohorts. However, RM treated with anti-IL-15 during primary infection manifested accelerated reactivation of RM rhadinovirus. Thus, IL-15 support of NK cell and TEM homeostasis does not play a demonstrable, nonredundant role in SIV replication or CD4+ T cell deletion dynamics but may contribute to immune control of oncogenic g-herpesviruses.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy