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Nat Rev Microbiol. 2015 Jul;13(7):403-13. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro3449. Epub 2015 Apr 27.

HIV-1 and interferons: who's interfering with whom?

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Department of Infectious Diseases, King's College London, 2nd Floor, Borough Wing, Guy's Hospital, London Bridge, London SE1 9RT, UK.


The ability of interferons (IFNs) to inhibit HIV-1 replication in cell culture models has long been recognized, and the therapeutic administration of IFN╬▒ to HIV-1-infected patients who are not receiving antiretroviral therapy produces a clear but transient decrease in plasma viral load. Conversely, studies of chronic HIV-1 infection in humans and SIV-infected animal models of AIDS show positive correlations between elevated plasma levels of IFNs, increased expression of IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs), biomarkers of inflammation and disease progression. In this Review, we discuss the evidence that IFNs can control HIV-1 replication in vivo and debate the controversial role of IFNs in promoting the pathological sequelae of chronic HIV-1 infection.

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