Characterization of a novel population of low-density granulocytes associated with disease severity in HIV-1 infection.
The mechanisms resulting in progressive immune dysfunction during the chronic phase of HIV infection are not fully understood. We have previously shown that arginase, an enzyme with potent immunosuppressive properties, is increased in HIV seropositive (HIV+) patients with low CD4(+) T cell counts. Here we show that the cells expressing arginase in peripheral blood mononuclear cells of HIV+ patients are low-density granulocytes (LDGs) and that whereas these cells have a similar morphology to normal-density granulocyte, they are phenotypically different. Importantly, our results reveal that increased frequencies of LDGs correlate with disease severity in HIV+ patients.