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AIDS. 2000 Oct 20;14(15):2299-311.

Modeling HIV transfer between dendritic cells and T cells: importance of HIV phenotype, dendritic cell-T cell contact and T-cell activation.

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Department of Microbiology, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium.



To study the requirements for HIV transfer between dendritic cells (DC) and CD4 T cells, using an in vitro model, combined with flow cytometry.


Immature DC and macrophages (MA) were generated from monocytes. After infection, DC or MA were cultured alone or with purified CD4 T cells. Intracellular HIV was measured, using (1) the monocyte (MO)-tropic AD8 HIV, endowed with enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP); and (2) intracellular staining of laboratory HIV strains and clones from primary isolates.


(1) Clone AD8-EGFP infected DC and MA with equal efficiency, but the virus was preferentially transferred from DC to autologous T cells. (2) DC were more productively infected with R5/NSI, as compared to X4/SI, HIV, but both HIV phenotypes were easily transmitted to autologous T4 cells. (3) HIV-infected DC transferred the virus to T cells across a semi-permeable membrane, if the T cells were in contact with non-infected DC. (4) Co-culture of T cells with autologous non-infected DC induced T-cell activation. HIV-infected DC selectively increased HLA-DR on T cells and HLA-DR (+) T cells were preferential targets for HIV transfer. (5) Resting Ba-L-infected CD4 T cells were able to transmit the virus 'inversely' to co-cultured DC.


HIV transfer between monocyte-derived dendritic cells and autologous CD4 T cells was directly demonstrated using flow cytometry. The transfer proceeded in both directions, depended on cellular contact and was associated with partial T-cell activation. This model, representing relevant in vivo targets of HIV, is useful to further investigate interactions between HIV, DC and T cells, without the need for primary ex vivo DC.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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