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Blood. 2003 Jun 1;101(11):4505-11. Epub 2003 Feb 6.

Dysfunction and infection of freshly isolated blood myeloid and plasmacytoid dendritic cells in patients infected with HIV-1.

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  • 1Department of Immunology, Imperial College of Science, Technology of Medicine, Westminster Hospital, London.


Recently it has been shown that the 2 populations of blood dendritic cells (DCs), termed plasmacytoid (pcDCs) and myeloid (myDCs), are reduced in HIV-1 infection. This study aimed to determine whether these 2 populations are targets for HIV-1 infection and whether their ability to stimulate T-lymphocyte proliferation is affected. Highly purified populations of myDCs and pcDCs were isolated from the blood of antiretroviral treatment-naive patients and assessed for the level of HIV provirus by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). We show that both populations are targets for HIV-1 infection as indicated by the presence of provirus in 12 of 14 pcDC and 13 of 14 myDC samples tested. A proportion of this provirus is integrated in myDCs. The ability of both myDCs and pcDCs from HIV-1-infected patients to stimulate allogeneic T-lymphocyte proliferation in a 6-day mixed leukocyte reaction was severely impaired, but was not mediated by secondary infection of T lymphocytes. Thus, in addition to depletion, both myeloid and plasmacytoid DCs are infected and show impaired functional capacity. These findings suggest that infection, depletion, and dysfunction of dendritic cells may contribute to the immunosuppression associated with HIV-1 disease.

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