HIV-associated sensory neuropathy remains the most common neurological complication of HIV infection and is characterized by dorsal root ganglion (DRG) inflammation and intraepidermal nerve fiber density (IENFD) loss. Chronic peripheral immune cell activation and accumulation may cause damage to the DRG, but has not been fully investigated yet. By using an SIV-infected, CD8-lymphocyte-depleted rhesus macaque model, we defined immune cells surrounding DRG neurons and their role in DRG pathology, measured cell traffic from the bone marrow to the DRGs using 5-bromo-2-deoxyuridine (BrdU) pulse, and serially measured IENFD. We found an increase in CD68+ and CD163+ macrophages in DRGs of SIV-infected animals. MAC387+ recently recruited monocytes/macrophages were increased, along with BrdU+ cells, in the DRGs of SIV-infected macaques. We demonstrated that 78.1% of all BrdU+ cells in DRGs were also MAC387+. The number of BrdU+ monocytes correlated with severe DRG histopathology, which included neuronophagia, neuronal loss, and Nageotte nodules. These data demonstrate that newly recruited MAC387+BrdU+ macrophages may play a significant role in DRG pathogenesis. IENFD decreased early (day 21), consistent with the development of sensory neuropathy in SIV-infected macaques. Decreased IENFD was associated with elevated BrdU+ cells in the DRG. These data suggest that increased recruitment of macrophages to DRG is associated with severe DRG histopathology and IENFD loss.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine