Therapeutic strategies that augment antiviral immunity and reduce the viral reservoir are critical to achieving durable remission of HIV. The coinhibitory receptor programmed death-1 (PD-1) regulates CD8+ T cell dysfunction during chronic HIV and SIV infections. We previously demonstrated that in vivo blockade of PD-1 during chronic SIV infection improves the function of antiviral CD8+ T cells and B cells. Here, we tested the immunological and virological effects of PD-1 blockade combined with antiretroviral therapy (ART) in rhesus macaques. Administration of anti–PD-1 antibody 10 days prior to ART initiation rapidly enhanced antiviral CD8+ T cell function and diminished IFN-stimulated genes. This resulted in faster viral suppression in plasma and better Th17 cell reconstitution in the rectal mucosa following ART initiation. PD-1 blockade during ART resulted in lower levels of cell-associated replication-competent virus. Following ART interruption, PD-1 antibody–treated animals showed markedly higher expansion of proliferating CXCR5+perforin+granzyme B+ effector CD8+ T cells and lower regulatory T cells that resulted in better control of viremia. Our results show that PD-1 blockade can be administered safely with ART to augment antiviral CD8+ T cell function and reduce the viral reservoir, leading to improved control of viral rebound after ART interruption.
Geetha H. Mylvaganam, Lynette S. Chea, Gregory K. Tharp, Sakeenah Hicks, Vijayakumar Velu, Smita S. Iyer, Claire Deleage, Jacob D. Estes, Steven E. Bosinger, Gordon J. Freeman, Rafi Ahmed, Rama R. Amara