Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Dawn Wooley (Advisor)

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Over the past two decades, much research has been done in the field of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). However, many of the aspects of pathogenesis of HIV infection and its persistence in the body, despite treatment, remain a mystery. Recent evidence suggests that HIV positive patients develop eosinophilia, especially in the later stages of infection and AIDS. Eosinophils are CD4 positive cells that have the potential to be infected by HIV. Studies have shown that an eosinophilic cell line, AML14.3D10, can be productively infected with a T-cell tropic, CXCR4-using (X4) strain of HIV-1. In this study, primary human eosinophils from four healthy volunteers were shown to be susceptible to infection with a T-cell tropic, CXCR4-using (X4) strain of HIV-1, HTLV-IIIB. This data was supported by results from quantitative polymerase chain reaction (Q-PCR), which detected high HIV copy numbers in infected eosinophil samples. In two out of four donors, these copy numbers were comparable to those obtained from infected AML14.3D10, used as a positive control. In all four donors, the number of viral copies detected in infected eosinophils were significantly (p<0.05) higher than those detected in infected peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). Donor variability was observed in viral loads detected. No correlation was observed between the viral load and the production of p24. However, infected eosinophils showed higher amounts of p24 production, as compared to infected PBMCs with or without IL-2, in three out of four donors suggesting productive infection. Therefore, it is concluded that primary human eosinophils are susceptible to productive infection by X4 HIV-1.

Page Count


Department or Program

Microbiology and Immunology

Year Degree Awarded