Mucosal T-cell responses to HIV: responding at the front lines

J Intern Med. 2009 Jan;265(1):58-66. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2796.2008.02042.x.


Mucosal surfaces of the body serve as the major portal of entry for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). These tissues also house a majority of the body's lymphocytes, including the CD4(+) T cells that are the major cellular target for HIV infection. Mucosal surfaces are defended by innate and adaptive immune mechanisms, including secreted antibodies and CD8(+) cytotoxic T cells (CTL). CTL in mucosal lymphoid tissues may serve to limit viral replication, decreasing the host's viral burden as well as reducing the likelihood of sexual transmission to a naïve host. This review summarizes recent literature on HIV-specific T-cell responses in mucosal tissues, with an emphasis on the gastrointestinal tract.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • HIV / immunology*
  • HIV Infections / immunology*
  • HIV Seronegativity / immunology
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*