Current HIV/AIDS Reports

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 1–10 | Cite as

The Dual Role of Neutrophils in HIV Infection

  • Tiffany Hensley-McBain
  • Nichole R. Klatt
HIV Pathogenesis and Treatment (AL Landay and N Utay, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on HIV Pathogenesis and Treatment


Purpose of Review

We summarize what is known about neutrophils in HIV infection, focusing on their potential roles in HIV protection, acquisition, and pathogenesis.

Recent Findings

Recent studies have demonstrated that neutrophil-associated proteins and cytokines in genital tissue pre-infection associate with HIV acquisition. However, recent in vivo assessment of highly exposed seronegative individuals and in vitro studies of anti-HIV functions of neutrophils add to older literature evidence that neutrophils may be important in a protective response to HIV infection.


Neutrophils are important for containment of pathogens but can also contribute to tissue damage due to their release of reactive oxygen species, proteases, and other potentially harmful effector molecules. Overall, there is a clear evidence for both helpful and harmful roles of neutrophils in HIV acquisition and pathogenesis. Further study, particularly of tissue neutrophils, is needed to elucidate the kinetics, phenotype, and functionality of neutrophils in HIV infection to better understand this dichotomy.


Neutrophils HIV mucosal dysfunction HIV infection Tissue damage Mucosal immunology HIV protection 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Tiffany Hensley-McBain and Nichole R. Klatt declare grants from National Institutes of Health.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PharmaceuticsUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Washington National Primate Research Center (WaNPRC)University of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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