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Cell Mol Immunol. 2010 Sep;7(5):334-40. doi: 10.1038/cmi.2010.8. Epub 2010 Mar 15.

The good and evil of complement activation in HIV-1 infection.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Indiana University School of Medicine, 635 Barnhill Drive, Indianapolis, IN, USA.


The complement system, a key component of innate immunity, is a first-line defender against foreign pathogens such as HIV-1. The role of the complement system in HIV-1 pathogenesis appears to be multifaceted. Although the complement system plays critical roles in clearing and neutralizing HIV-1 virions, it also represents a critical factor for the spread and maintenance of the virus in the infected host. In addition, complement regulators such as human CD59 present in the envelope of HIV-1 prevent complement-mediated lysis of HIV-1. Some novel approaches are proposed to combat HIV-1 infection through the enhancement of antibody-dependent complement activity against HIV-1. In this paper, we will review these diverse roles of complement in HIV-1 infection.

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