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J Immunol. 2003 Dec 1;171(11):5663-7.

Cutting edge: increased NK cell activity in HIV-1-exposed but uninfected Vietnamese intravascular drug users.

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  • 1Unité de Biologie des Rétrovirus, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France. scott@pasteur.fr


We addressed the role of innate immunity in the protection against HIV-1 infection by studying NK cell function in 37 Vietnamese intravascular drug users (IDUs), who appeared to remain HIV-1 uninfected despite many years of high-risk exposure (exposed uninfected, EU), 10 IDUs who underwent seroconversion and 28 unexposed blood donors. Main results were: NK cell lytic activities against both the NK-susceptible K562 cell line and the NK-resistant Daudi cell line were significantly augmented in EU IDUs compared with either controls or seroconverters before or after seroconversion; NK cells producing the cytokines IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha and the beta chemokines CCL3, CCL4, and CCL5 were also increased in the EU IDUs, either after in vitro activation or without stimulation. The finding of an enhanced NK cell function in EU IDUs, especially compared with IDUs who became HIV-1 infected, supports the hypothesis that NK cells contribute to the protection against HIV-1 infection.

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