Th17 cell dynamics in HIV infection

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Purpose of reviewTh17 cells are a newly identified subtype of CD4+ T cells that respond to bacterial and fungal antigens and are important in mucosal immunology. Because HIV infection results in loss of CD4+ T cells as well as disruption to the gastrointestinal tract that causes microbial translocation and immune activation, Th17 cells potentially play an important role in HIV pathogenesis. Here we examine the relationship between Th17 cells and HIV disease pathogenesis.Recent findingsTh17 cells are preferentially lost from the gastrointestinal tract of HIV-infected individuals, which is not entirely due to direct infection, as Th17 cells can be infected in vivo, but are not preferentially infected. Long-term highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) can result in restoration of Th17 cells in the gastrointestinal, which may be associated with better disease prognosis. Furthermore, other cells, such as Vδ1 T cells, can make IL-17 in vivo during HIV infection and may contribute to antibacterial immunity after loss of Th17 cells.SummaryRecent studies have improved our understanding of the role for Th17 cells during HIV infection; however, more studies are needed to discern better the detrimental consequences of loss of Th17 cells during HIV infection.

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