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Immunol Lett. 1991 Oct;30(2):213-8.

Stimulatory and suppressive effects of infection of dendritic cells with HIV-1.

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  • 1Antigen Presentation Research Group, Clinical Research Centre, Harrow, Middlesex, U.K.


Two effects of HIV infection on human dendritic cells (DC) in vitro have been examined. The first was the stimulation of primary responses to HIV antigens in autologous lymphocytes from normal donors. When DC were exposed to HIV (10(4) TCID/10(5) cells) for up to 24 h before addition to autologous lymphocytes, a marked primary proliferative response to the virus was observed. No proliferative response was seen when the period of pre-exposure of DC to virus was extended. Cytotoxic T cells specific for HIV-infected target cells developed in stimulated cultures. The second effect of HIV infection of DC was to block responses to other antigens, such as alloantigens and the recall antigens tetanus toxoid and influenza virus. This inhibitory effect was only evident when the DC were exposed to HIV for longer than 24 h before being added to cultures. These in vitro studies suggest that infection of DC can produce both stimulatory and inhibitory responses in lymphocytes. Such effects operating through DC might underlie in vivo activity of HIV both in stimulating the proliferation of lymphocytes (e.g., in persistent generalised lymphadenopathy) and in the development of immunosuppression.

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