, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 42-47
Date: 26 Apr 2007

Role of immune activation in HIV pathogenesis

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T-cell activation has long been considered a central mediator of HIV pathogenesis. High T-cell activation levels predict more rapid disease progression in untreated patients and decreased treatment-mediated CD4+ T-cell gains during antiretroviral therapy, independent of plasma HIV RNA levels, and may be the primary feature distinguishing pathogenic from nonpathogenic primate models of HIV infection. Studies in animal models and individuals with HIV infection continue to enhance our understanding of how T-cell activation causes immunodeficiency during HIV infection. The goal of these studies is to identify specific mechanisms that can be targeted by novel immune-based therapies for patients who have thus far been unable to recover normal immune function despite years of antiretroviral therapy. Although most immune-based therapies targeting T-cell activation have been unsuccessful to date, recent scientific developments have focused attention on specific pathways that may be exploited by future generations of immune-based therapies.