A proportion of HIV-infected individuals experience episodes of localized or systemic bacterial infections caused by Gramnegative bacteria. Many of the clinical side effects of these infections are associated with the production of proinflammatory cytokines, which are induced primarily by LPS, a constituent of the bacterial cell wall of Gram-negative bacteria. The present study examines the mechanisms involved in LPS-mediated induction of HIV expression in U1 cells, a promonocytic cell line chronically infected with HIV. Stimulation of U1 cells by LPS alone induced minimal levels of HIV expression, which was significantly enhanced by granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF). Costimulation of U1 cells with LPS plus GM-CSF resulted in the accumulation of steady-state levels of HIV RNA; however, only a weak induction of HIV long terminal repeat-driven transcription, which was not associated with the activation of the cellular transcription factor nuclear factor-kappa B, was noted. Costimulation of cells with LPS plus GM-CSF induced the production of proinflammatory cytokines, IL-8, IL-1 beta and IL-6, but not TNF-alpha. IL-1 receptor antagonist (ra) inhibited LPS enhancement of HIV expression in GM-CSF-stimulated cells, suggesting that endogenous IL-1 was involved in LPS-mediated viral production. In this regard, anti-inflammatory cytokines inhibited LPS plus GM-CSF-stimulated HIV expression, and this effect closely correlated with inhibition of IL-1 beta release and, in particular, with up-regulation of endogenous IL-1ra production. Thus, the balance between an endogenously produced viral inducer (IL-1 beta) and an inhibitor (IL-1ra) may represent an important pathway leading to modulation of HIV expression from monocytic cells.
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