Plasmacytoid and myeloid dendritic cells with a partial activation phenotype accumulate in lymphoid tissue during asymptomatic chronic HIV-1 infection

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2008 May 1;48(1):1-12. doi: 10.1097/QAI.0b013e3181664b60.


Dendritic cells (DCs) from HIV-1-infected individuals display numeric and functional defects, and recent evidence suggests that HIV-1 can directly and indirectly activate DCs in vitro. The in vivo activation state and compartmentalization of DC subsets during HIV-1 infection remain poorly understood, however. We evaluated phenotypic and functional characteristics of myeloid dendritic cells (mDCs) and plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) directly ex vivo in peripheral blood and lymphoid tissue from HIV-1-infected and HIV-seronegative individuals. Analysis of a wide range of chemokine receptors and activation/maturation markers on circulating DCs from viremic HIV-1-infected donors revealed a phenotype indicative of partial activation. Yet, blood DCs from viremic subjects still achieved full maturation when stimulated in vitro. In addition, blood pDCs from viremic individuals had a reduced capacity to migrate to CXCL12 in vitro. Total numbers of both DC subsets were increased in lymph nodes of asymptomatic untreated HIV-1-infected subjects, consistent with DC accumulation in the lymphoid compartment. Lymph node DCs also expressed high levels of CD40 in the absence of increases of other typical activation/maturation markers. Activation and depletion of DCs in blood with accumulation in lymphoid tissue may contribute to HIV-associated chronic immune activation and T-cell dysfunction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • DNA Primers
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • Flow Cytometry
  • HIV Infections / immunology
  • HIV Infections / pathology*
  • HIV-1
  • Humans
  • Lymphoid Tissue / immunology
  • Lymphoid Tissue / pathology*
  • Phenotype


  • DNA Primers