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J Virol. 2004 May;78(10):5223-32.

Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 activates plasmacytoid dendritic cells and concomitantly induces the bystander maturation of myeloid dendritic cells.

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Institut de Biologie, INSERM U463, Nantes, France.


In this study, we analyzed the phenotypic and physiological consequences of the interaction of plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). pDCs are one cellular target of HIV-1 and respond to the virus by producing alpha/beta interferon (IFN-alpha/beta) and chemokines. The outcome of this interaction, notably on the function of bystander myeloid DC (CD11c+ DCs), remains unclear. We therefore evaluated the effects of HIV-1 exposure on these two DC subsets under various conditions. Blood-purified pDCs and CD11c+ DCs were exposed in vitro to HIV-1, after which maturation markers, cytokine production, migratory capacity, and CD4 T-cell stimulatory capacity were analyzed. pDCs exposed to different strains of infectious or even chemically inactivated, nonreplicating HIV-1 strongly upregulated the expression of maturation markers, such as CD83 and functional CCR7, analogous to exposure to R-848, a synthetic agonist of toll-like receptor-7 and -8. In addition, HIV-1-activated pDCs produced cytokines (IFN-alpha and tumor necrosis factor alpha), migrated in response to CCL19 and, in coculture, matured CD11c+ DCs, which are not directly activated by HIV. pDCs also acquired the ability to stimulate naïve CD4+ T cells, albeit less efficiently than CD11c+ DCs. This HIV-1-induced maturation of both DC subsets may explain their disappearance from the blood of patients with high viral loads and may have important consequences on HIV-1 cellular transmission and HIV-1-specific T-cell responses.

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