A role for mucosal immunity in resistance to HIV infection

Mario Clerici, Alessandra Salvi, Daria Trabattoni, Sergio Lo Caputo, Francesca Semplici, Mara Biasin, Claudio Ble, Francesca Meacci, Cristina Romeo, Stefania Piconi, Francesco Mazzotta, Maria Luisa Villa, Sandra Mazzoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In a recent, thought-provoking novel by Elizabeth McCracken (The Giant's House. Avon Books, New York, 1997), two characters discuss love and its impossibilities. One brashly claims to be 'immune to love', explaining the concept to his perplexed interlocutor, '...people become immune to love like they become immune to any disease. Either they had it bad early in life, like chicken pox and that's that; or they keep getting exposed to it in little doses and build up an immunity; or somehow they just don't catch it, something in'em is born resistant. I'm the last type. I'm immune to love and poison ivy'. (p. 275) (E. McCracken, The Giant's House. Avon Books, New York, 1997). Substitute the words 'HIV infection' for 'love' and this intriguing metaphor summarizes the state of the art working hypotheses for the phenomenon of resistance to HIV infection in HIV-exposed individuals who, against all odds, do not seroconvert. These hypotheses will be discussed hereafter and particular emphasis will be placed upon a possible role for mucosal immunity in this phenomenon.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-25
Number of pages5
JournalImmunology Letters
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 1999


  • AIDS
  • Disease progression
  • HIV
  • IgA
  • Immunology
  • Mucosal immunity
  • T lymphocytes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy


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