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Defective maturation of dendritic cells during HIV-1 infection is associated with increased expression of SOCS-1


During chronic HIV-1 infection, upregulation in the expression of certain negative regulatory factors has been implicated recently as a cause of defects in dendritic cells (DCs). We aim to study the association of one such factor, the suppressor of cytokine signaling-1 (SOCS-1) gene with DC dysfunction during HIV-1 infection.


DCs from 21 therapy naïve (mean CD4: 256 cells/mm3), 21 patients on anti-retroviral therapy (mean CD4: 342 cells/mm3) and 14 healthy controls were immunophenotyped for maturation markers at baseline and after 5 hour ex vivo stimulation with TLR-4 ligand, LPS, by flowcytometry. Subsequently, the expression of SOCS-1 gene and the cytokine levels were assessed in monocyte-derived DCs (Mo-DC) of healthy donors exposed to LPS and HIV-1 gp120 by real time PCR and flowcytometry respectively.


The myeloid DCs of untreated subjects had significantly lower responsiveness to LPS stimulation as indicated by lower upregulation of CD83 (mean±SE: 31±4.4 vs. 50±3) and CD80 (30±4 vs. 40±3) as compared to healthy controls. Treated patients had a higher upregulation of CD83 (mean±SE: 38±4) and CD80 (mean±SE: 33±3) though not significantly higher than untreated patients. The expression of SOCS-1 was higher upon exposure to HIV-1 gp120 than LPS in 5 healthy controls assessed and their culture supernatants showed decreased levels of all the cytokines, mainly IL-6 and TNF-α.


Therapy naïve patients exhibit deficient DC maturation upon LPS stimulation, which is partially restored following antiretroviral treatment. An increased expression of SOCS-1 gene upon gp120 exposure suggests a possible role of SOCS-1 in DC impairment.

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Correspondence to Sunil K Arora.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( ), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Sachdeva, M., Sharma, A. & Arora, S.K. Defective maturation of dendritic cells during HIV-1 infection is associated with increased expression of SOCS-1. BMC Infect Dis 12 (Suppl 1), P88 (2012).

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