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Human thymic dendritic cells: regulators of T cell development in health and HIV-1 infection.

Evans VA, Cameron PU, Lewin SR

  • Journal Clinical immunology (Orlando, Fla.)

  • Published 03 Oct 2007

  • Volume 126

  • ISSUE 1

  • Pagination 1-12

  • DOI 10.1016/j.clim.2007.08.016


Thymic dendritic cells (DCs) are a unique subset of bone marrow-derived professional antigen presenting cells (APCs) that interact closely with developing thymocytes and play a crucial role in the process of negative selection and subsequent deletion of potential auto-reactive T cell clones. HIV-1 infection of the thymus has been implicated in the defective regeneration of the CD4(+) T cell pool in infected individuals. Thymic DCs are permissive to infection by HIV-1 and given their important role in T cell development, infected DCs within the thymus may contribute to the depletion of T cells. Here we review the phenotype and function of different DC subsets found within the human thymus and discuss potential mechanisms of how DCs may be important in CD4(+) T cell dysfunction in HIV-1 infection.