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AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2011 Apr;27(4):355-64. doi: 10.1089/aid.2010.0342. Epub 2011 Mar 8.

HIV-associated immune activation: from bench to bedside.

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Department of Hygiene, Public Health and Infectious Diseases, "Sapienza" University of Rome , Rome, Italy.


HIV infection is associated with a state of chronic, generalized immune activation that has been shown in many studies to be a key predictor of progression to AIDS. Consistent with this model, nonpathogenic SIV infections of natural hosts, such as the sooty mangabeys, are characterized by low levels of immune activation during the chronic phase of infection. The molecular, cellular, and pathophysiological mechanisms underlying the HIV-associated immune activation are complex and still poorly understood. There is, however, growing consensus that both viral and host factors contribute to this phenotype, with emphasis on the role played by the mucosal immune dysfunction (and consequent microbial translocation) as well as the pattern of in vivo-infected CD4(+) T cells. The observation that antiretroviral therapy (ART)-induced suppression of HIV replication does not fully resolve immune activation provided the rationale for a number of exploratory studies of potential immune modulatory treatments to be used in HIV-infected individuals in addition to standard ART. This review provides an update on the causes and consequences of the HIV-associated immune activation, and a summary of the immune modulatory approaches that are currently under clinical investigation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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