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J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2007 Oct 1;46(2):151-9.

Innate immunity in HIV infection: enhanced susceptibility to CD95-mediated natural killer cell death and turnover induced by HIV viremia.

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Laboratory of Immunoregulation, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


In the present study, we performed DNA microarray analyses and phenotypic and functional analyses in an effort to elucidate the mechanisms by which ongoing HIV replication affects the physiologic function of natural killer (NK) cells. Functional assays confirmed an increased propensity of NK cells from HIV-infected viremic individuals to undergo Fas-mediated apoptosis but not CD16- or NKG2D-mediated apoptosis. Serum levels of sFasL and expression of Ki67 on NK cells were markedly elevated in HIV-infected viremic individuals when compared with those of HIV-infected aviremic and HIV-seronegative individuals. Our data demonstrate that ongoing HIV replication results in profound NK-cell abnormalities that are likely to be attributable to the effects of virus-induced immune activation. Of note is an increased susceptibility to cell death mediated by CD95-sFasL interactions. In addition, these NK cells, particularly the CD56(dim) CD16(bright) subset, undergo enhanced cell turnover in vivo, as demonstrated by intracellular Ki67 expression.

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