Indexed on: 03 Jan '12Published on: 03 Jan '12Published in: AIDS (London, England)
The objective of this study was to determine changes in toll-like receptor (TLR) responses of monocytes, myeloid dendritic cells and plasmacytoid dendritic cells during primary and chronic HIV-1 infection. TLRs serve as important innate receptors to sense pathogens, and have been implicated in mediating immune activation in HIV-1 infection. Studies assessing the consequences of HIV-1 infection on the ability of innate immune cells to respond to TLR stimulation have come to varying conclusions.Using intracellular flow cytometry, cytokine production by cryopreserved peripheral blood mononuclear cells from healthy controls and HIV-1-infected individuals were examined after TLR stimulation.We observed that the effect of HIV-1 infection on TLR responses not only depended on the stage of HIV-1 infection, but was also dependent on the individual receptor and cell type examined. Monocyte and myeloid dendritic cell responses to TLR8 stimulation were associated with HIV-1 viral load and CD4 T-cell count, whereas plasmacytoid dendritic cell responses to TLR7 stimulation were not. Responses to TLR2 stimulation were not affected by HIV-1 infection, whereas responses to TLR9 stimulation were universally decreased in all HIV-1-infected individuals examined regardless of treatment or clinical parameters.Responsiveness to TLR7/8 stimulation, which have been shown to recognize HIV-1 ssRNA, did not decrease in chronic infection, and may represent a contributing factor to ongoing T-cell immune activation in the setting of chronic viremic HIV-1 infection.