Endogenous IFN-alpha production by plasmacytoid dendritic cells exerts an antiviral effect on thymic HIV-1 infection

Kevin B. Gurney, Arnaud D. Colantonio, Bianca Blom, Hergen Spits, Christel H. Uittenbogaart

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Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC) are the principal producers of IFN-alpha in response to viral infection. Because pDC are present in the thymus, we investigated the consequences of HIV-1-induced IFN-alpha production by thymic pDC. We observed that thymic pDC as well as thymocytes express intracellular IFN-alpha upon infection with HIV-1. However, only the pDC could suppress HIV-1 replication, because depletion of pDC resulted in enhancement of HIV-1 replication in thymocytes. Thymic pDC could also produce IFN-alpha in response to CpG oligonucleotides, consistent with the observations of others that peripheral pDC produce IFN-alpha upon engagement of TLR-9. Importantly, CpG considerably increased IFN-alpha production induced by HIV-1, and addition of CpG during HIV-1 infection enhanced expression of the IFN response protein MxA in thymocytes and strongly reduced HIV-replication. Our data indicate that thymic pDC modulate HIV-1 replication through secretion of IFN-alpha. The degree of inhibition depends on the level of IFN-alpha produced by the thymic pDC
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7269-7276
JournalJournal of immunology (Baltimore, Md.
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2004

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