Dendritic cells in HIV-1 and HCV infection: Can they help win the battle?
Hepatitis B virus
Hepatitis B, Chronic
Hepatitis C, Chronic
Persistent infections with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) are a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. As sentinels of our immune system, dendritic cells (DCs) play a central role in initiating and regulating a potent antiviral immune response. Recent advances in our understanding of the role of DCs during HIV-1 and HCV infection have provided crucial insights into the mechanisms employed by these viruses to impair DC functions in order to evade an effective immune response against them. Modulation of the immunological synapse between DC and T-cell, as well as dysregulation of the crosstalk between DCs and natural killer (NK) cells, are emerging as two crucial mechanisms. This review focuses on understanding the interaction of HIV-1 and HCV with DCs not only to understand the immunopathogenesis of chronic HIV-1 and HCV infection, but also to explore the possibilities of DC-based immunotherapeutic approaches against them. Host genetic makeup is known to play major roles in infection outcome and rate of disease progression, as well as response to anti-viral therapy in both HIV-1 and HCV-infected individuals. Therefore, we highlight the genetic variations that can potentially affect DC functions, especially in the setting of chronic viral infection. Altogether, we address if DCs' potential as critical effectors of antiviral immune response could indeed be utilized to combat chronic infection with HIV-1 and HCV.