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J Virol. 2003 Mar;77(6):3470-6.

Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 infection and replication in normal human oral keratinocytes.

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  • 1Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, Los Angeles, California 90059, USA.


Recent epidemiologic studies show increasing human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) transmission through oral-genital contact. This paper examines the possibility that normal human oral keratinocytes (NHOKs) might be directly infected by HIV or might convey infectious HIV virions to adjacent leukocytes. PCR analysis of proviral DNA constructs showed that NHOKs can be infected by CXCR4-tropic (NL4-3 and ELI) and dualtropic (89.6) strains of HIV-1 to generate a weak but productive infection. CCR5-tropic strain Ba-L sustained minimal viral replication. Antibody inhibition studies showed that infection by CXCR4-tropic viral strains is mediated by the galactosylceramide receptor and the CXCR4 chemokine coreceptor. Coculture studies showed that infectious HIV-1 virions can also be conveyed from NHOKs to activated peripheral blood lymphocytes, suggesting a potential role of oral epithelial cells in the transmission of HIV infection.

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