The present invention relates to the role of dendritic cells in facilitating productive human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Experimentally, productive infection with HIV-1 requires that virus be administered to T cells that are activated by mitogens. This application describes a productive milieu for HIV-1 infection within the confines of normal epithelial tissue that does not require standard stimuli. The milieu consists of dendritic cells and T cells that emigrate from skin and produce distinctive stable, nonproliferating conjugates. These conjugates, upon exposure to HIV-1, begin to release high levels of virus progeny. Numerous infected syncytia, comprised of both dendritic cells and T cells, rapidly develop. A method is disclosed for the identification of agents capable of inhibiting HIV transmission and chronic infection of dendritic cells and T lymphocytes found in epithelial tissues.

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Document History
  • Publication: May 6, 1997
  • Application: Aug 12, 1994
    US US 29043294 A
  • Priority: Aug 12, 1994
    US US 29043294 A

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