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FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 1999 Dec;26(3-4):249-57.

Expression of zeta molecules is decreased in NK cells from HIV-infected patients.

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Department Infectious Diseases, Leiden University Medical Center, P. O. Box 9600, 2300 RC, Leiden, The Netherlands.


Cytolysis by natural killer (NK) cells is impaired in HIV infection. We investigated whether the expression of zeta (zeta) molecules, essential elements of signalling initiated upon ligation of, e.g., CD16, is reduced and if so, whether this reduction could be involved in defective cytolysis. FACS analysis revealed significantly lower levels of zeta in NK cells from AIDS patients compared to cells from patients without AIDS and healthy controls. CD16-dependent cytolysis by NK cells correlated with expression of zeta molecules and CD16, the latter possibly related to zeta expression. No correlation was observed between CD16-independent cytolysis and zeta expression. Reduced expression of zeta molecules by NK cells from HIV-infected patients thus correlates with disease progression and may, in part, explain the defective cytolysis by these cells.

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