PLoS pathogens 2018 02 2314(2) e1006902 doi 10.1371/journal.ppat.1006902
B cell follicles in secondary lymphoid tissues represent an immune privileged sanctuary for AIDS viruses, in part because cytotoxic CD8+ T cells are mostly excluded from entering the follicles that harbor infected T follicular helper (TFH) cells. We studied the effects of native heterodimeric IL-15 (hetIL-15) treatment on uninfected rhesus macaques and on macaques that had spontaneously controlled SHIV infection to low levels of chronic viremia. hetIL-15 increased effector CD8+ T lymphocytes with high granzyme B content in blood, mucosal sites and lymph nodes, including virus-specific MHC-peptide tetramer+ CD8+ cells in LN. Following hetIL-15 treatment, multiplexed quantitative image analysis (histo-cytometry) of LN revealed increased numbers of granzyme B+ T cells in B cell follicles and SHIV RNA was decreased in plasma and in LN. Based on these properties, hetIL-15 shows promise as a potential component in combination immunotherapy regimens to target AIDS virus sanctuaries and reduce long-term viral reservoirs in HIV-1 infected individuals.