Journal of virology

Inability of plasmacytoid dendritic cells to directly lyse HIV-infected autologous CD4+ T cells despite induction of tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand.

PMID 20042498


The function of plasmacytoid dendritic cells (PDC) in chronic human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection remains controversial with regard to its potential for sustained alpha interferon (IFN-alpha) production and induction of PDC-dependent tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL)-mediated cytotoxicity of HIV-infected cells. We address these areas by a study of chronically HIV-1-infected subjects followed through antiretroviral therapy (ART) interruption and by testing PDC cytolytic function against autologous HIV-infected CD4(+) T cells. Rebound in viremia induced by therapy interruption showed a positive association between TRAIL and viral load or T-cell activation, but comparable levels of plasma IFN-alpha/beta were found in viremic ART-treated and control subjects. While PDC from HIV-infected subjects expressed less interferon regulator factor 7 (IRF-7) and produced significantly less IFN-alpha upon Toll-like receptor 7/9 (TLR7/9) engagement than controls, membrane TRAIL expression in PDC from HIV(+) subjects was increased. Moreover, no significant increase in death receptor 5 (DR5) expression was seen in CD4(+) T cells from viremic HIV(+) subjects compared to controls or following in vitro infection/exposure to infectious and noninfectious virus or exogenous IFN-alpha, respectively. Although activated PDC killed the DR5-expressing HIV-infected Sup-T1 cell line, PDC did not lyse primary autologous HIV(+) CD4(+) T cells yet could provide accessory help for NK cells in killing HIV-infected autologous CD4(+) T cells. Taken together, our data show a lack of sustained high levels of soluble IFN-alpha in chronic HIV-1 infection in vivo and document a lack of direct PDC cytolytic activity against autologous infected or uninfected CD4(+) T cells.

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SUP-T1, 95013123