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Future Microbiol. 2017 Feb;12:141-155. doi: 10.2217/fmb-2016-0125. Epub 2017 Jan 20.

Thymosin alpha 1 and HIV-1: recent advances and future perspectives.

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Department of Experimental Medicine & Surgery, University of Rome 'Tor Vergata', Via Montepellier, 1, Rome 00133, Italy.
Department of System Medicine, University of Rome 'Tor Vergata', Via Montepellier, 1, Rome 00133, Italy.
Institute of Translational Pharmacology, National Research Council, Via Fosso del Cavaliere, 100, Rome 00133, Italy.
Department of Chemical, Biological, Pharmaceutical & Environmental Sciences, University of Messina, Via F. Stagno d'Alcontres 31, Messina 98166, Italy.
IRCSS San Raffaele Pisana, Scientific Institute for Research, Hospitalization & Health Care, Via di Val Cannuta, 247, Roma 00166, Italy.


In spite of the consistent benefits for HIV-1 infected patients undergoing antiretroviral therapy, a complete immune reconstitution is usually not achieved. Actually, antiretroviral therapy may be frequently accompanied by immunological unresponsiveness, persistent inflammatory conditions and inefficient cytotoxic T-cell response. Thymosin alpha 1 is a thymic peptide that demonstrates a peculiar ability to restore immune system homeostasis in different physiological and pathological conditions (i.e., infections, cancer, immunodeficiency, vaccination and aging) acting as multitasking protein depending on the host state of inflammation or immune dysfunction. This review reports the present knowledge on the in vitro and in vivo studies concerning the use of thymosin alpha 1 in HIV-1 infection. Recent findings and future perspectives of therapeutic intervention are discussed.


ART; CD8 antiviral factor; HIV; immune dysfunction; immune reconstitution

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