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Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cells as Cell-Based Therapeutics: A Novel Immunotherapy to Treat Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection?

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Dendritic cells (DCs) play a critical role in mediating innate and adaptive immune responses. Since their discovery in the late 1970's, DCs have been recognized as the most potent antigen-presenting cells (APCs). DCs have a superior capacity for acquiring, processing, and presenting antigens to T cells and they express costimulatory or coinhibitory molecules that determine immune activation or anergy. For these reasons, cell-based therapeutic approaches using DCs have been explored in cancer and infectious diseases but with limited success. In humans, DCs are divided into heterogeneous subsets with distinct characteristics. Two major subsets are CD11c+ myeloid (m)DCs and CD11c− plasmacytoid (p)DCs. pDCs are different from mDCs and play an essential role in the innate immune system via the production of type I interferons (IFN). However, pDCs are also able to take-up antigens and effectively cross present them. Given the rarity of pDCs in blood and technical difficulties in obtaining them from human blood samples, the understanding of human pDC biology and their potential in immunotherapeutic approaches (e.g. cell-based vaccines) is limited. However, due to the recent advancements in cell culturing systems that allow for the generation of functional pDCs from CD34+ hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPC), studying pDCs has become easier. In this mini-review, we hypothesize about the use of pDCs as a cell-based therapy to treat HIV by enhancing anti-HIV-immune responses of the adaptive immune system and enhancing the anti-viral responses of the innate immune system. Additionally, we discuss obstacles to overcome before this approach becomes clinically applicable.
Original languageEnglish
Article number249
JournalFrontiers in cellular and infection microbiology
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - May 2020

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