Background: Preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention is a novel biomedical prevention method. We have previously modeled PrEP during rectal SHIV exposures in macaques and identified that Simian/Human Immunodeficiency Virus chimera (SHIV)-specific T-cell responses were induced in the presence of antiretroviral drugs, an observation previously termed T-cell chemovaccination. This report expands those initial findings by examining a larger group of macaques that were given oral or topical PrEP during repeated vaginal virus exposure. Methods: Thirty-six female pigtail macaques received up to 20 repeat low-dose vaginal inoculations with wild-type (WT) SHIVSF162P3 (n = 24) or a clonal derivative with the tenofovir (TFV) K65R drug-resistant mutation (n = 12). PrEP consisted of oral Truvada (n = 6, WT), TFV vaginal gel (n = 6, K65R), or TFV intravaginal ring (n = 6, WT). The remaining animals were PrEPinexperienced controls (n = 12, WT; n = 6, K65R). SHIV-specific T cells were identified and characterized using interferon γ Enzyme-Linked ImmunoSpot (ELISPOT) and multiparameter flow cytometry. Results: Of 9 animals that were on PrEP and remained uninfected during WT SHIV vaginal challenges, 8 (88.9%) developed virusspecific T-cell responses. T cells were in CD4 and CD8 compartments, reached up to 4900 interferon γ-producing cells per million peripheral blood mononuclear cells, and primarily pol directed. In contrast, the replication-impaired K65R virus did not induce detectable T-cell responses, likely reflecting the need for adequate replication. Conclusions: Virus-specific T-cell responses occur frequently in oral or topical PrEP-protected pigtail macaques after vaginal exposure to WT SHIV virus. The contribution of such immune responses to protection from infection during and after PrEP warrants further investigation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Infectious Diseases
- Pharmacology (medical)