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Dendritic cells exposed to human immunodeficiency virus type-1 transmit a vigorous cytopathic infection to CD4+ T cells

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Science  17 Jul 1992:
Vol. 257, Issue 5068, pp. 383-387
DOI: 10.1126/science.1352913

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Abstract

The paucity of virus-laden CD4+ cells in individuals infected with human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1) contrasts with the greatly reduced numbers and function of these lymphocytes. A pathway is described whereby dendritic cells carry HIV-1 to uninfected T cells, amplifying the cytopathic effects of small amounts of virus. After exposure to HIV-1, dendritic cells continue to present superantigens and antigens, forming clusters with T cells that are driven to replicate. Infection of the dendritic cells cannot be detected, but the clustered T cells form syncytia, release virions, and die. Carriage of HIV-1 by dendritic cells may facilitate the lysis and loss of antigen specific CD4+ T cells in acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.