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J Immunol. 2010 Dec 15;185(12):7340-8. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1001642. Epub 2010 Nov 8.

Increased B7-H1 expression on dendritic cells correlates with programmed death 1 expression on T cells in simian immunodeficiency virus-infected macaques and may contribute to T cell dysfunction and disease progression.

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Tulane National Primate Research Center, Tulane University School of Medicine, Covington, LA 70433, USA.


Suppression of dendritic cell (DC) function in HIV-1 infection is thought to contribute to inhibition of immune responses and disease progression, but the mechanism of this suppression remains undetermined. Using the rhesus macaque model, we show B7-H1 (programmed death [PD]-L1) is expressed on lymphoid and mucosal DCs (both myeloid DCs and plasmacytoid DCs), and its expression significantly increases after SIV infection. Meanwhile, its receptor, PD-1, is upregulated on T cells in both peripheral and mucosal tissues and maintained at high levels on SIV-specific CD8(+) T cell clones in chronic infection. However, both B7-H1 and PD-1 expression in SIV controllers was similar to that of controls. Expression of B7-H1 on both peripheral myeloid DCs and plasmacytoid DCs positively correlated with levels of PD-1 on circulating CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells, viremia, and declining peripheral CD4(+) T cell levels in SIV-infected macaques. Importantly, blocking DC B7-H1 interaction with PD-1(+) T cells could restore SIV-specific CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell function as evidenced by increased cytokine secretion and proliferative capacity. Combined, the results indicate that interaction of B7-H1-PD-1 between APCs and T cells correlates with impairment of CD4(+) Th cells and CTL responses in vivo, and all are associated with disease progression in SIV infection. Blockade of this pathway may have therapeutic implications for HIV-infected patients.

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