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Adv Exp Med Biol. 2013;762:263-88. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4614-4433-6_10.

Targeting dendritic cells for improved HIV-1 vaccines.

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Department of Microbiology, Tumor, and Cell Biology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.


As dendritic cells (DCs) have the unique capacity to activate antigen-naive T cells they likely play a critical role in eliciting immune responses to vaccines. DCs are therefore being explored as attractive targets for vaccines, but understanding the interaction of DCs and clinically relevant vaccine antigens and adjuvants is a prerequisite. The HIV-1/AIDS epidemic continues to be a significant health problem, and despite intense research efforts over the past 30 years a protective vaccine has not yet been developed. A common challenge in vaccine design is to find a vaccine formulation that best shapes the immune response to protect against and/or control the given pathogen. Here, we discuss the importance of understanding the diversity, anatomical location and function of different human DC subsets in order to identify the optimal target cells for an HIV-1 vaccine. We review human DC interactions with some of the HIV-1 vaccine antigen delivery vehicles and adjuvants currently utilized in preclinical and clinical studies. Specifically, the effects of distinctly different vaccine adjuvants in terms of activation of DCs and improving DC function and vaccine efficacy are discussed. The susceptibility and responses of DCs to recombinant adenovirus vectors are reviewed, as well as the strategy of directly targeting DCs by using DC marker-specific monoclonal antibodies coupled to an antigen.

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