Low-level HIV infection of hepatocytes
- Equal contributors
1 Division of Digestive Diseases, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, ML 0595, 231 Albert Sabin Way, Cincinnati, OH 45267, USA
2 Immunovirology and Reproduction Groups, University of Antioquia, Medellin, Colombia
3 Division of Molecular Immunology, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, USA
Virology Journal 2012, 9:157 doi:10.1186/1743-422X-9-157Published: 9 August 2012
There are only limited data on whether HIV infection occurs within the liver; therefore, we explored early and late stages of the HIV life cycle in two hepatocyte cell lines – Huh7.5 and Huh7.5JFH1 – as well as in primary human hepatocytes.
Integrated HIV DNA was detected in Huh7.5 and Huh7.5JFH1 cells, as well as in primary hepatocytes, and was inhibited by the integrase inhibitor raltegravir in a dose-dependent manner. HIV p24 protein was also detected in cell culture supernatants at days 1, 3, 5, and 7 post-infection and was inhibited by AZT, although levels were modest compared to those in a lymphocyte cell line. Culture supernatants from HIV-infected hepatocytes were capable of infecting a non-hepatic HIV indicator cell line.
These results indicating low-level HIV replication in hepatoctyes in vitro complement evidence suggesting that HIV has deleterious effects on the liver in vivo.