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Macrophage Activation and HIV Infection: Can the Trojan Horse Turn into a Fortress?

[ Vol. 2 , Issue. 8 ]


G. Herbein, A. Coaquette, D. Perez-Bercoff and G. Pancino   Pages 723 - 738 ( 16 )


Macrophages are infected early during HIV infection and are thought to play the role of a Trojan horse by spreading infection in tissues. Most recent studies point out to a more complex role for macrophages in HIV infection: macrophages could contribute to both host defense and viral persistence and pathogenesis. Infected macrophages are a reservoir for HIV and modulate apoptosis of T cells present in their vicinity. Also, a functional impairment of HIV-infected macrophages may play a role in AIDS pathogenesis. Nevertheless, both activation and differentiation of monocyte / macrophages can interfere with susceptibility of these cells to infection. Therefore, a wide variety of stimuli result in HIV suppression through macrophage activation. At present times, a dynamic view on the role of macrophages in HIV infection arises which indicates that macrophages are a target for the virus and at the same time regulate its replication. Therefore, macrophages are at the cross-road between protection and pathogenesis in HIV infection due to their involvement both as a viral target and a key modulator of non-specific and specific immune responses. Future studies will help unravel the cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie HIV-macrophage interactions and might result in new vaccine and / or therapeutic strategies.


Macrophage Activation, HIV Infection, Trojan Horse


Department of Virology, Franche-Comte University, CHU Besançon, 2, place Saint-Jacques, F- 25030 Besançon Cedex, France

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