Chronic inflammation and immune dysfunction play a key role in the development of non-AIDS–related comorbidities. The aim of our study was to characterize the functional phenotype of immune cells in people living with HIV (PLHIV). We enrolled a cross-sectional cohort study of PLHIV on stable antiretroviral therapy and healthy controls. We assessed ex vivo cytokine production capacity and transcriptomics of monocytes and T cells upon bacterial, fungal, and viral stimulation. PLHIV exhibited an exacerbated proinflammatory profile in monocyte-derived cytokines, but not in lymphocyte-derived cytokines. Particularly, the production of the IL-1β to imiquimod, E. coli LPS, and Mycobacterium tuberculosis was increased, and this production correlated with plasma concentrations of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein and soluble CD14. This increase in monocyte responsiveness remained stable over time in subsequent blood sampling after more than 1 year. Transcriptome analyses confirmed priming of the monocyte IL-1β pathway, consistent with a monocyte-trained immunity phenotype. Increased plasma concentrations of β-glucan, a well-known inducer of trained immunity, were associated with increased innate cytokine responses. Monocytes of PLHIV exhibited a sustained proinflammatory immune phenotype with priming of the IL-1β pathway. Training of the innate immune system in PLHIV likely plays a role in long-term HIV complications and provides a promising therapeutic target for inflammation-related comorbidities.
Wouter A. van der Heijden, Lisa Van de Wijer, Farid Keramati, Wim Trypsteen, Sofie Rutsaert, Rob ter Horst, Martin Jaeger, Hans J.P.M. Koenen, Hendrik G. Stunnenberg, Irma Joosten, Paul E. Verweij, Jan van Lunzen, Charles A. Dinarello, Leo A.B. Joosten, Linos Vandekerckhove, Mihai G. Netea, André J.A.M. van der Ven, Quirijn de Mast