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Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 1995 Nov;13(5):610-20.

Infection, apoptosis, and killing of mature human eosinophils by human immunodeficiency virus-1.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Harvard Thorndike Laboratories, Charles A. Dana Research Institute, Beth Israel Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA.


Although human eosinophils express low concentrations of CD4, the capacity of mature, non-replicating eosinophils to be infected with human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) has not been established. Using peripheral blood eosinophils isolated free of contaminating lymphocytes and mononuclear leukocytes, we evaluated eosinophil infection with HIV-1. Eosinophils could be infected with strains of HIV-1 as evidenced by HIV-induced cytolytic effects, progressive release of p24 antigen in cultures of infected eosinophils, recovery of HIV from infected eosinophils by co-cultivation, and detection of HIV-1 gag viral DNA from infected eosinophils by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification. Greater p24 antigen release from infected eosinophils was elicited by the phorbol ester, PMA; and eosinophil killing by HIV-1 was enhanced by the cytokine GM-CSF. By light and electron microscopy, HIV-infected eosinophils demonstrated apoptosis and necrosis. Apoptotic subdiploid nuclear staining was detected by flow cytometric analyses of propidium iodide-stained nuclei from HIV-infected eosinophils, and DNA isolated from HIV-infected eosinophils showed both nucleosomal fragmentation and diffuse degradation. Thus, mature eosinophils, non-replicating terminally differentiated leukocytes, can be infected with HIV-1. HIV-1 expression in eosinophils is promoted by increased granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) and can cause eosinophils to undergo death due to apoptosis and necrosis.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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