HIV reservoirs and the possibility of a cure for HIV infection

Authors

  • S. Palmer,

    1. From the Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology, Karolinska Institutet
    2. Department of Virology, Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control, Solna, Sweden
    Search for more papers by this author
  • L. Josefsson,

    1. From the Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology, Karolinska Institutet
    2. Department of Virology, Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control, Solna, Sweden
    Search for more papers by this author
  • J. M. Coffin

    1. Department of Molecular Biology and Microbiology, Tufts University, Boston, MA, USA
    Search for more papers by this author

Sarah Palmer, Department of Virology, Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control, Nobels väg 18, 171 82 Solna, Sweden.
(fax: 46-08-33 7272; e-mail: Sarah.Palmer@smi.se).

Abstract

Abstract.  Palmer S, Josefsson L, Coffin JM (Karolinska Institutet, Solna; Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control, Solna, Sweden; and Tufts University, Boston, MA, USA). HIV reservoirs and the possibility of a cure for HIV infection (Symposium). J Intern Med 2011; doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2796.2011.02457.x.

Recent studies demonstrate that suppressive therapy can drive HIV-1 RNA levels to less than 50 copies mL−1 in patient plasma. Yet, ultrasensitive assays show that most patients continue to harbour low-level persistent viremia. Treatment intensification studies indicate that low-level viremia could arise from several different sources. These sources include: (i) long-lived HIV-infected cells that replicate and produce virus; (ii) ongoing replication cycles in cells located in sanctuary sites where drug levels are suboptimal; and/or (iii) proliferation of latently infected cells with regeneration of a stable reservoir of slowly dividing infected cells. A well-defined latent reservoir of HIV is memory CD4+ T-cells where latency is established when an activated CD4+ T-cell becomes infected by HIV, but transitions to a terminally differentiated memory cell before it is eliminated. This review examines the dynamics and possible reservoirs of persistent HIV in patients on suppressive therapy, the mechanisms promoting viral latency and strategies to purge latent viral reservoirs. The promising research described here takes a number of steps forward to seriously address HIV remission and/or eradication.

Ancillary