Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Curr Opin Infect Dis. 2004 Feb;17(1):1-6.

Antigen presentation and the role of dendritic cells in HIV.

Author information

Department of Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London, UK.



As initiators of primary immune responses and one of the first cell types encountered and infected by HIV, the role of dendritic cells in retroviral infection has been the subject of intense scrutiny. We review recent publications regarding the effect of HIV-1 infection on the numbers and function of dendritic cells, as well as progress in the use of dendritic cells in immunotherapeutic protocols.


The numbers of both plasmacytoid and myeloid dendritic cells in the blood are reduced during HIV-1 infection. The ability of dendritic cells to stimulate T-cell proliferation is impaired, probably as a result of defective co-stimulatory molecule expression. In addition, a decreased production of IFN-alpha may reflect the loss or dysfunction of plasmacytoid dendritic cells. There is evidence that dendritic cells may promote the induction of peripheral tolerance to self peptides, and HIV may utilize this function of dendritic cells to inhibit the immune response. The data on improvements in dendritic cell numbers and function during antiretroviral therapy are conflicting, whereas current vaccine initiatives involving pulsing dendritic cells with virus proteins, infected apototic or whole inactivated virions is proving a useful tool in the induction, expansion and maintenance of antiviral cell-mediated immunity.


This review summarizes the current literature regarding the effects of HIV on the dendritic cell populations, with particular interest in understanding how the function of dendritic cells is affected by HIV infection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Lippincott Williams & Wilkins - Ovid Insights
    Loading ...
    Support Center