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Sci Rep. 2016 Aug 2;6:30749. doi: 10.1038/srep30749.

The differential short- and long-term effects of HIV-1 latency-reversing agents on T cell function.

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Department of Microbiology &Immunology, UNC Chapel Hill School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.
Department of Biostatistics, UNC Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.
Lineberger Comprehensive Care Center, UNC Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.
Department of Medicine and UNC HIV Cure Center, UNC Chapel Hill School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.
Merck Research Laboratories, White Horse Junction, Pennsylvania, USA.
Eshelman School of Pharmacy, UNC Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.


Despite the extraordinary success of HIV-1 antiretroviral therapy in prolonging life, infected individuals face lifelong therapy because of a reservoir of latently-infected cells that harbor replication competent virus. Recently, compounds have been identified that can reverse HIV-1 latency in vivo. These latency- reversing agents (LRAs) could make latently-infected cells vulnerable to clearance by immune cells, including cytolytic CD8+ T cells. We investigated the effects of two leading LRA classes on CD8+ T cell phenotype and function: the histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACis) and protein kinase C modulators (PKCms). We observed that relative to HDACis, the PKCms induced much stronger T cell activation coupled with non-specific cytokine production and T cell proliferation. When examining antigen-specific CD8+ T cell function, all the LRAs except the HDACi Vorinostat reduced, but did not abolish, one or more measurements of CD8+ T cell function. Importantly, the extent and timing of these effects differed between LRAs. Panobinostat had detrimental effects within 10 hours of drug treatment, whereas the effects of the other LRAs were observed between 48 hours and 5 days. These observations suggest that scheduling of LRA and CD8+ T cell immunotherapy regimens may be critical for optimal clearance of the HIV-1 reservoir.

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