Mechanisms That Contribute to a Profound Reduction of the HIV-1 Reservoir After Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplant

Mechanisms That Contribute to a Profound Reduction of the HIV-1 Reservoir After Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplant

Online publication: 15/10/2018 Journal: Annals of Internal Medicine



The multifactorial mechanisms associated with radical reductions in HIV-1 reservoirs after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant (allo-HSCT), including a case of HIV cure, are not fully understood.


To investigate the mechanism of HIV-1 eradication associated with allo-HSCT.


Nested case series within the IciStem observational cohort.


Multicenter European study.


6 HIV-infected, antiretroviral-treated participants who survived more than 2 years after allo-HSCT with CCR5 wild-type donor cells.


HIV DNA analysis, HIV RNA analysis, and quantitative viral outgrowth assay were performed in blood, and HIV DNA was also measured in lymph nodes, ilea, bone marrow, and cerebrospinal fluid. A humanized mouse model was used for in vivo detection of the replication-competent blood cell reservoir. HIV-specific antibodies were measured in plasma.


Analysis of the viral reservoir showed that 5 of 6 participants had full donor chimera in T cells within the first year after transplant, undetectable proviral HIV DNA in blood and tissue, and undetectable replication-competent virus (<0.006 infectious unit per million cells). The only participant with detectable virus received cord blood stem cells with an antithymocyte globulin–containing conditioning regimen, did not develop graft-versus-host disease, and had delayed complete standard chimerism in T cells (18 months) with mixed ultrasensitive chimera. Adoptive transfer of peripheral CD4+ T cells to immunosuppressed mice resulted in no viral rebound. HIV antibody levels decreased over time, with 1 case of seroreversion.


Few participants.


Allo-HSCT resulted in a profound long-term reduction in the HIV reservoir. Such factors as stem cell source, conditioning, and a possible “graft-versus-HIV-reservoir” effect may have contributed. Understanding the mechanisms involved in HIV eradication after allo-HSCT can enable design of new curative strategies.

Primary Funding Source:

The Foundation for AIDS Research (amFAR).

Authors: Maria Salgado, PhD; Mi Kwon, MD; Cristina Gálvez, MS; Jon Badiola, MD; Monique Nijhuis, PhD; Alessandra Bandera, MD, PhD; Pascual Balsalobre, PhD; Pilar Miralles, MD; Ismael Buño, PhD; Carolina Martinez-Laperche, PhD; Cristina Vilaplana, MD, PhD; Manuel Jurado, MD, PhD; Bonaventura Clotet, MD, PhD; Annemarie Wensing, MD; Javier Martinez-Picado, PhD; Jose Luis Diez-Martin, MD, PhD; for the IciStem Consortium.

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