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Blood. 2008 Jan 15;111(2):699-704. Epub 2007 Oct 1.

HIV-1 induced activation of CD4+ T cells creates new targets for HIV-1 infection in human lymphoid tissue ex vivo.

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Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Biophysics, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


We demonstrate mechanisms by which HIV-1 appears to facilitate its own infection in ex vivo-infected human lymphoid tissue. In this system, HIV-1 readily infects various CD4+ T cells, but productive viral infection was supported predominantly by activated T cells expressing either CD25 or HLA-DR or both (CD25/HLA-DR) but not other activation markers: There was a strong positive correlation (r=0.64, P=.001) between virus production and the number of CD25+/HLA-DR+ T cells. HIV-1 infection of lymphoid tissue was associated with activation of both HIV-1-infected and uninfected (bystanders) T cells. In these tissues, apoptosis was selectively increased in T cells expressing CD25/HLA-DR and p24gag but not in cells expressing either of these markers alone. In the course of HIV-1 infection, there was a significant increase in the number of activated (CD25+/HLA-DR+) T cells both infected and uninfected (bystander). By inducing T cells to express particular markers of activation that create new targets for infection, HIV-1 generates in ex vivo lymphoid tissues a vicious destructive circle of activation and infection. In vivo, such self-perpetuating cycle could contribute to HIV-1 disease.

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