Viruses 2018 03 2810(4) pii 10.3390/v10040154
Depletion and functional impairment of circulating plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) are characteristic attributes of HIV-1-infection. The mechanism of dysfunction of pDCs is unclear. Here, we studied the development of phenotype of pDCs in a cohort of HIV-1-infected individuals monitored before the initiation and during a 9-month follow up with antiretroviral therapy (ART). Using polychromatic flow cytometry, we detected significantly higher pDC-surface expression of the HIV-1 receptor CD4, regulatory receptor BDCA-2, Fcγ receptor CD32, pDC dysfunction marker TIM-3, and the marker of killer pDC, TRAIL, in treatment-naïve HIV-1-infected individuals before initiation of ART when compared to healthy donors. After 9 months of ART, all of these markers approached but did not reach the expression levels observed in healthy donors. We found that the rate of decline in HIV-1 RNA level over the first 3 months of ART negatively correlated with the expression of TIM-3 on pDCs. We conclude that immunogenic phenotype of pDCs is not significantly restored after sustained suppression of HIV-1 RNA level in ART-treated patients and that the level of the TIM-3 expressed on pDCs in treatment naïve patients could be a predictive marker of the rate of decline in the HIV-1 RNA level during ART.