Abundant and superficial expression of C-type lectin receptors in ectocervix of women at risk of HIV infection

Taha Hirbod, Tove Kaldensjö, Lucia Lopalco, Elin Klareskog, Sonia Andersson, Caterina Uberti-Foppa, Davide Ferrari, Mara Manghi, Jan Andersson, Karin Loré, Kristina Broliden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVES: Dendritic cells (DCs) are among the first cells to encounter HIV after mucosal exposure and can bind virus via C-type lectin receptors (CLRs). Here, we characterized the distribution of various DC subtypes and the density of the CLRs, DC-SIGN, langerin, and mannose receptor in the ectocervix of HIV-seronegative women with low- and high-risk behavior for acquiring HIV. MATERIAL AND METHODS: Cryosections from ectocervical biopsies, collected from sexually active low-risk healthy HIV immunoglobulin G-negative women (n = 10) and HIV immunoglobulin G-negative commercial sex workers (n = 8), were assessed by computerized image analysis. RESULTS: We identified various distinct DC populations. CD11cCD1alangerin cells were localized in the epithelium, whereas CD11cCD1aDC-SIGN and CD11cCD1aCD68DC-SIGNmannose receptor cells were restricted to the lamina propria of the ectocervix. CD123 cells were found at low incidence and did not express any of the investigated CLRs. The density of CLR expression was significantly higher in the high-risk as compared with the low-risk women. CONCLUSIONS: The superficial and abundant presence of potential HIV target cells makes the ectocervix a likely site for HIV transmission. The detected variations in density and localization of potential HIV receptors should be considered when developing topical prophylactic measures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-247
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2009


  • Female genital tract
  • HIV
  • Langerhans cell
  • Langerin
  • Mannose receptor
  • Mucosa
  • Myeloid dendritic cell
  • Plasmacytoid dendritic cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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