Biology Open (Feb 2018)

Human hepatocyte depletion in the presence of HIV-1 infection in dual reconstituted humanized mice

  • Raghubendra Singh Dagur,
  • Weimin Wang,
  • Yan Cheng,
  • Edward Makarov,
  • Murali Ganesan,
  • Hiroshi Suemizu,
  • Catherine L. Gebhart,
  • Santhi Gorantla,
  • Natalia Osna,
  • Larisa Y. Poluektova

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 7, no. 2


Read online

Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection impairs liver function, and liver diseases have become a leading cause of morbidity in infected patients. The immunopathology of liver damage caused by HIV-1 remains unclear. We used chimeric mice dually reconstituted with a human immune system and hepatocytes to address the relevance of the model to pathobiology questions related to human hepatocyte survival in the presence of systemic infection. TK-NOG males were transplanted with mismatched human hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells and hepatocytes, human albumin concentration and the presence of human immune cells in blood were monitored for hepatocytes and immune reconstitution, and mice were infected with HIV-1. HIV-1-infected animals showed a decline in human albumin concentration with a significant reduction in percentage of human hepatocytes compared to uninfected mice. The decrease in human albumin levels correlated with a decline in CD4+ cells in the liver and with an increase in HIV-1 viral load. HIV-1 infection elicited proinflammatory response in the immunological milieu of the liver in HIV-infected mice compared to uninfected animals, as determined by upregulation of IL23, CXCL10 and multiple toll-like receptor expression. The inflammatory reaction associated with HIV-1 infection in vivo could contribute to the depletion and dysfunction of hepatocytes. The dual reconstituted TK-NOG mouse model is a feasible platform to investigate hepatocyte-related HIV-1 immunopathogenesis. This article has an associated First Person interview with the first author of the paper.