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Blood. 2001 Oct 15;98(8):2574-6.

Loss of blood CD11c(+) myeloid and CD11c(-) plasmacytoid dendritic cells in patients with HIV-1 infection correlates with HIV-1 RNA virus load.

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Department of Immunology, Imperial College School of Medicine, London, United Kingdom.


Human blood contains at least 2 subpopulations of antigen-presenting dendritic cells (DCs) that can be differentiated by their expression of CD11c. Myeloid DCs (myDCs), which are CD11c(+), trap invading pathogens in the tissues and then migrate to lymphoid tissues where they stimulate pathogen-specific T-cell responses. Plasmacytoid DCs (pcDCs), which are CD11c(-), secrete interferon-alpha in response to viral infections. This study reports that in HIV-1 infection there is a progressive depletion of both these DC populations and that this correlates with an increasing HIV-1 plasma virus load. The median numbers of myDCs and pcDCs were 6978/mL and 9299/mL, respectively, in healthy male controls and 2298/mL and 1640/mL, respectively, in patients with more than 10(5) HIV-1 RNA copies/mL. Both DC populations expressed CD4, CCR5, and CXCR4. The findings suggest that loss of DCs in HIV infection may contribute to disease progression.

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