Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Anti-apoptotic effects of Interleukin 7 in Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 infection : mechanism and implications for immune reconstitution strategies
Author: Vassena, Lia
ISNI:       0000 0004 2715 0551
Awarding Body: Open University
Current Institution: Open University
Date of Award: 2012
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
Although HAART has introduced great improvements in the clinical outcome of HIV-1- infected individuals, the current protocols often fail in completely restoring the CD4+T-cell lymphopenia. Therefore, innovative approaches based on the use of immune adjuvants to HAART, including cytokines like IL-2, IL-15 and IL-7, are being explored. The present thesis aims at investigating the immunomodulatory effects of IL- 7 in HIV /SIV infection, focusing on its pro-survival properties. The first part of this work describes the results of a study in vitro to evaluate the effects of IL-7 on T cells from HIV -l-infected individuals, and shows that this cytokine strongly protects both CD4+ and CD8+T cells from spontaneous apoptosis. IL-7-mediated apoptosis reduction ex vivo inversely correlated with the CD4+T-cell count of the patient in vivo, suggesting that IL-7 treatment could be useful also for patients at with advanced disease. Moreover, the protective effect of IL-7 was not associated with the induction of cellular proliferation or viral replication. The second part of this work describes the results of a study in vivo of IL-7 administration during the acute phase of SIV infection in rhesus macaques, the pathogenic animal model for AIDS. IL-7 treatment prevented the depletion of circulating naive and memory CD4+T cells that typically occurs within the very first weeks of infection, primarily by reducing the levels of apoptosis. Moreover, IL-7 treatment also induced sustained increases in all subsets of circulating CD8+T cells. Of note, treatment with IL-7 did not have any effect on SIV plasma viral load nor on the content of SIV DNA provirus. Finally, IL-7-treated animals developed earlier and stronger CD8+ and CD4+T-cell responses as compared to untreated animals, although overall no protective effects on disease progression were observed. Taken together, these data further support the use of IL-7 as an immunomodulatory adjuvant to HAART in HIV-I-infected individuals, and suggest that this cytokine may be a useful tool to preserve or restore the CD4+T-cell pool during both the acute and chronic phases of the infection.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral