In Vivo and in Vitro Infection of Human Langerhans Cells by HIV-1
The skin and mucosa are the first line of defense of the organism against external agents, not only as a physical barrier between the body and the environment but also as the site of initiation of immune reactions1. The immunocompetent cells which act as antigen-presenting cells are Langerhans cells (LC). Originated from the bone marrow, LC migrate to the peripheral epithelia (skin, mucous membranes) where they play a primordial role in the induction of an immune response and are especially active in stimulating naive T lymphocytes in the primary response through a specific cooperation with CD4-positive lymphocytes after migration to proximal lymph nodes2. Apart from many plasma membrane determinants, LC also express CD4 molecules which make them susceptible targets and reservoirs for human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)3. Once infected, these cells due to their localization in areas at risk (skin, mucous membranes), their capacity to migrate from the epidermal compartment to lymph nodes and their ability to support viral replication without major cytopathic effects, could play a role of vector in the dissemination of virus from the site of inoculation to the lymph nodes and thereby to contribute to the infection of T lymphocytes.
KeywordsFeline Immunodeficiency Virus Birbeck Granule Feline Immunodeficiency Virus Infection Mucosal Transmission Epidermal Compartment
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