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AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 1990 Aug;6(8):979-86.

HIV-1 infection of lung alveolar fibroblasts and macrophages in humans.

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Laboratoire de Biologie et d'Immunologie Mol├ęcularies des R├ętrovirus, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France.


We have studied the infected cell populations in the lungs of four human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) seropositive patients suffering from lymphocytic alveolitis or lymphocytic interstitial pneumonitis. Adherent cells were obtained by bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) and were analyzed by various technical approaches. The cells considered here were alveolar macrophages and fibroblasts, and could be clearly identified morphologically and by the expression of specific cell-surface markers using monoclonal antibodies. The presence of HIV-1 in both of these cell types was established by serological, virological, and molecular procedures. Our results show that alveolar macrophages and fibroblasts are naturally infected in the lungs of HIV+ patients. Both cell types express the CD4 receptor molecule, in contrast to skin fibroblasts which are negative. Alveolar macrophages and fibroblasts thus may act as eventual HIV-1 reservoirs in vivo, and are probably involved in the induction of inflammatory reactions because they are targets for CD8 cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL).

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