Background: Previous studies indicated that Plasmodium infection activates the immune system, including memory CD4+ T cells, which constitute the reservoir of human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1). Therefore, we postulated that co-infection with malaria might activate the reservoir of HIV-1. To test this hypothesis, we used a rhesus macaque model of co-infection with malaria and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), along with antiretroviral therapy (ART). Results: Our results showed that Plasmodium infection reduced both the replication-competent virus pool in resting CD4+ T cells and the integrated virus DNA (iDNA) load in peripheral blood mononuclear cells in the monkeys. This reduction might be attributable to malaria-mediated activation and apoptotic induction of memory CD4+ T cells. Further studies indicated that histone acetylation and NF-kappaB (NF-κB) activation in resting CD4+ T cells may also play an important role in this reduction. Conclusions: The findings of this work expand our knowledge of the interaction between these two diseases. As more HIV-1-infected individuals in malaria-endemic areas receive ART, we should explore whether any of the patients co-infected with Plasmodium experience virologic benefits.
Zhan, X. Y., Wang, N., Liu, G., Qin, L., Xu, W., Zhao, S., … Chen, X. (2014). Plasmodium infection reduces the volume of the viral reservoir in SIV-infected rhesus macaques receiving antiretroviral therapy. Retrovirology, 11(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12977-014-0112-x