© Hubert RAGUET / Institut Cochin / CNRS Images



Traitement de tissus de patients séropositifs sous trithérapie

Treatment of tissue from seropositive patients undergoing triple therapy with a view to identifying the reservoir cells, in which the virus multiplies very slowly. These tissues, taken from the genital organs (penis) of seropositive patients undergoing effective treatment, or healthy subjects, are fixed then encapsulated in a resin. In order to detect the genetic material of the virus (RNA), the tissues are then cut into thin slices (4-5 microns) before being deposited on glass slides. To reveal the RNA, the tissues on the slides undergo several treatments (ethanol and oxygenated water baths and heating to 40°C, among others). They are then treated with specific viral RNA probes using new, highly sensitive RNAscope technology. Reservoir cells are infected cells in which the virus, for reasons that are still poorly understood, becomes dormant, or replicates very slowly. This means that the virus is invisible from outside the cell, and therefore escapes the immune response and antiretroviral treatments. If treatment is stopped, the virus starts to multiply again in large numbers, and the disease progresses once again. The most studied reservoir is located in the CD4+ T lymphocytes in the blood. However, although there are many signs that other reservoirs exist in tissues, very little is known about the nature and dynamics of these tissue reservoirs, notably in terms of macrophages. The "Mucosal entry of HIV and mucosal immunity" team led by Morgane Bomsel is in the process of characterising these viral reservoirs at the level of tissue macrophages. The characterisation of these new reservoirs is vital for the development of an effective strategy for HIV eradication.

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