1887

Abstract

Infection of dendritic cells (DC) by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has been disputed. Employing a fluorescence-activated cell sorter, DC, identified by the absence of membrane markers for T, B, natural killer (NK) and monocytic cells and by high levels of MHC class II DR antigen, were shown to express low levels of CD4. Immunomagnetic beads were used to separate blood low density cells, which are enriched for DC, into CD4-positive and -negative populations. Examination of these cells by electron microscopy showed an increase in the percentage of cells with DC morphology in the CD4-positive fraction and a reduction in the CD4-negative fraction. Electron microscopy of semi-purified DC preparations infected for 5 days with HIV-1 revealed morphologically distinct veiled DC with mature virions on the cell surface and virus budding through the cell membrane. Further evidence for the growth of HIV in DC was provided by experiments in which DC were extensively depleted of contaminating lymphocytes and monocytes prior to infection. Estimation of provirus load by a nested PCR indicated that after 5 days an infection level of one provirus copy per five cells could be achieved. After 7 days the provirus copy number could exceed the cellular genome copy number, suggesting that some cells had more than one provirus. Infectious virus could not be demonstrated in these cultures after 24 h but was detected after 5 or 7 days. Infection of DC in the presence of antibodies against CD4 was inhibited and suggests infection occurs via a CD4-dependent pathway. These results confirm that DC are susceptible to HIV infection . The immunological consequences of DC infection may be significant in the pathogenesis of AIDS.

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1995-05-01
2022-08-15
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