Background: In Sub-Saharan Africa, herbal therapy continues to be utilized for HIV-1 disease management. However, the therapeutic benefits of these substances remain ambiguous. To date, little is known about the effects of these plant extracts on chronic CD4 + T-cell activation and exhaustion which is partly driven by HIV-1 associated microbial translocation. Methods: Effects of Azadirachta indica, Momordica foetida and Moringa oleifera ethanol: water mixtures on cell viability were evaluated using the Guava PCA system. Then, an in-vitro cell culture model was developed to mimic CD4+ T cell exposures to antigens following HIV-1 microbial translocation. In this, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) isolated from HIV negative (n = 13), viral load < 1000 copies per mL (n = 10) and viral load > 1000 copies per mL (n = 6) study participants from rural Uganda were treated with Staphylococcus enterotoxin B (SEB). Then, the candidate plant extract (A. indica) was added to test the potential to inhibit corresponding CD4+ T cell activation. Following BD Facs Canto II event acquisition, variations in %CD38, %CD69, Human Leukocyte Antigen -DR (HLA-DR), Programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1), T-cell immunoglobulin and mucin domain-containing protein 3 (Tim-3), interferon gamma (IFN γ) and interleukin 2 (IL-2) CD4 + T cell expression were evaluated. Results: Following exposure to SEB, only A. indica demonstrated a concentration-dependent ability to downregulate the levels of CD4 + T cell activation. At the final concentration of 0.500 μg/mL of A. indica, a significant downregulation of CD4 + CD38 + HLA-DR+ expression was observed in HIV negative (p < 0.0001) and both HIV infected groups (P = 0.0313). This plant extract also significantly lowered SEB induced % CD4+ T cell HLADR, PD-1 and Tim-3 levels. PD-1 and CD69 markers were only significantly downmodulated in only the HIV negative ((p = 0.0001 and p = 0.0078 respectively) and viral load< 1000 copies per ml (p = 0.0078) groups. Conclusion: A. indica exhibited the in-vitro immunomodulatory potential to inhibit the continuum of SEB induced CD4+ T-cell activation/ exhaustion without impacting general T-cell specific functions such as cytokine secretion. Additional studies are needed to confirm A. indica as a source of natural products for targeting persistent immune activation and inflammation during ART.
- Azadirachta indica (A. indica) ethanol: water mixture
- CD4 T cell activation/exhaustion
- Microbial translocation
- Staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Complementary and alternative medicine