Inhibition of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) enhances elimination of virus-infected macrophages in an animal model of HIV-1 encephalitis

Raghava Potula, Larisa Poluektova, Bryan Knipe, Jesse Chrastil, David Heilman, Huanyu Dou, Osamu Takikawa, David H. Munn, Howard E. Gendelman, Yuri Persidsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) is the rate-limiting enzyme in the kynurenine pathway of tryptophan metabolism. IDO activity is linked with immunosuppression by its ability to inhibit lymphocyte proliferation, and with neurotoxicity through the generation of quinolinic acid and other toxins. IDO is induced in macrophages by HIV-1 infection, and it is up regulated in macrophages in human brain tissue with HIV-1 encephalitis (HIVE). Using a model of HIVE, we investigated whether IDO inhibitor 1-methyl-D-tryptophan (1-MT) could affect the generation of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) and clearance of virus-infected macrophages from the brain. Severe combined immunodeficient mice were reconstituted with human peripheral blood lymphocytes, and encephalitis was induced by intracranial injection of autologous HIV-1-infected monocyte-derived macrophages (MDMs). Animals treated with 1-MT demonstrated increased numbers of human CD3+, CD8+, CD8+/interferon- γ+ T cells, and HIV-1gag/pol-specific CTLs in peripheral blood compared with controls. At week 2 after MDM injection in the basal ganglia, mice treated with 1-MT showed a 2-fold increase in CD8 + T lymphocytes in the areas of the brain containing HIV-1-infected MDMs compared with untreated controls. By week 3, 1-MT-treated mice showed 89% reduction in HIV-infected MDMs in brain as compared with controls. Thus, manipulation of immunosuppressive IDO activity in HIVE may enhance the generation of HIV-1-specific CTLs, leading to elimination of HIV-1-infected macrophages in brain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2382-2390
Number of pages9
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology


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