Replication of HIV-1 in Dendritic Cell-Derived Syncytia at the Mucosal Surface of the Adenoid

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Science  05 Apr 1996:
Vol. 272, Issue 5258, pp. 115-117
DOI: 10.1126/science.272.5258.115


Human immunodeficiency virus-type 1 (HIV-1) replicates actively in infected individuals, yet cells with intracellular depots of viral protein are observed only infrequently. Many cells expressing the HIV-1 Gag protein were detected at the surface of the nasopharyngeal tonsil or adenoid. This infected mucosal surface contained T cells and dendritic cells, two cell types that together support HIV-1 replication in culture. The infected cells were multinucleated syncytia and expressed the S100 and p55 dendritic cell markers. Eleven of the 13 specimens analyzed were from donors who did not have symptoms of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). The interaction of dendritic cells and T cells in mucosa may support HIV-1 replication, even in subclinical stages of infection.

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