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Keywords:

  • Human embryonic stem cells;
  • Induced pluripotent stem cells;
  • Natural killer cells;
  • HIV-1 infection inhibition;
  • In vitro;
  • In vivo

Abstract

Cell-based immunotherapy has been gaining interest as an improved means to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/AIDS. Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) could become a potential resource. Our previous studies have shown hESC and iPSC-derived natural killer (NK) cells can inhibit HIV-infected targets in vitro. Here, we advance those studies by expressing a HIV chimeric receptor combining the extracellular portion of CD4 to the CD3ζ intracellular signaling chain. We hypothesized that expression of this CD4ζ receptor would more efficiently direct hESC- and iPSC-derived NK cells to target HIV-infected cells. In vitro studies showed the CD4ζ expressing hESC- and iPSC-NK cells inhibited HIV replication in CD4+ T-cells more efficiently than their unmodified counterparts. We then evaluated CD4ζ expressing hESC (CD4ζ-hESC)- and iPSC-NK cells in vivo anti-HIV activity using a humanized mouse model. We demonstrated significant suppression of HIV replication in mice treated with both CD4ζ-modified and -unmodified hESC-/iPSC-NK cells compared with control mice. However, we did not observe significantly increased efficacy of CD4ζ expression in suppression of HIV infection. These studies indicate that hESC/iPSC-based immunotherapy can be used as a unique resource to target HIV/AIDS. Stem Cells 2014;32:1021–1031