HIV-1 and interferons: who's interfering with whom?

Nat Rev Microbiol. 2015 Jul;13(7):403-13. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro3449. Epub 2015 Apr 27.


The ability of interferons (IFNs) to inhibit HIV-1 replication in cell culture models has long been recognized, and the therapeutic administration of IFNα to HIV-1-infected patients who are not receiving antiretroviral therapy produces a clear but transient decrease in plasma viral load. Conversely, studies of chronic HIV-1 infection in humans and SIV-infected animal models of AIDS show positive correlations between elevated plasma levels of IFNs, increased expression of IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs), biomarkers of inflammation and disease progression. In this Review, we discuss the evidence that IFNs can control HIV-1 replication in vivo and debate the controversial role of IFNs in promoting the pathological sequelae of chronic HIV-1 infection.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy
  • HIV Infections / immunology*
  • HIV-1 / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Interferon-alpha / administration & dosage
  • Interferons / immunology*
  • Virus Replication


  • Interferon-alpha
  • Interferons