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Curr Opin HIV AIDS. 2019 Mar;14(2):77-84. doi: 10.1097/COH.0000000000000526.

Perturbation of mucosal-associated invariant T cells and iNKT cells in HIV infection.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, The University of Melbourne, Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Nuffield Department of Medicine and Translational Gastroenterology Unit, The Peter Medawar Building for Pathogen Research, University of Oxford.
NIHR Biomedical Research Centre, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, UK.
ARC Centre of Excellence in Convergent Bio-Nano Science and Technology, The University of Melbourne.
Melbourne Sexual Health Centre, Alfred Hospital, Monash University Central Clinical School, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.



To analyze the possible role that the 'unconventional' T-cell populations mucosal-associated invariant T cell (MAIT) and iNKT cells play during HIV infection and following antiretroviral therapy (ART) treatment.


A substantial body of evidence now demonstrates that both MAIT and iNKT cells are depleted in blood during HIV infection. The depletion and dysfunction of MAIT and iNKT cells are only partially restored by suppressive ART, potentially contributing to HIV-related comorbidities.


The deficiency and dysfunction of MAIT and iNKT T-cell subsets likely impact on immunity to important coinfections including Mycobacterium tuberculosis. This underscores the importance of research on restoring these unconventional T cells during HIV infection. Future studies in this field should address the challenge of studying tissue-resident cells, particularly in the gut, and better defining the determinants of MAIT/iNKT cell dysfunction. Such studies could have a significant impact on improving the immune function of HIV-infected individuals.

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