Cross-talk between virus and host innate immunity in pediatric HIV-1 infection and disease progression

Riccardo Freguja, Ketty Gianesin, Marisa Zanchetta, Anita De Rossi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Variability in the susceptibility to HIV-1 infection and disease progression depends on both virus and host determinants. Some exposed individuals remain HIV-1-uninfected and HIV-1-infected subjects develop disease at varying intervals with a small percentage remaining long-term non-progressors. As innate immunity is the earliest response to microbial entry and injury, host factors that impact innate immunity may play a role in viral infectivity and pathogenesis. In the pediatric population the interactions between the virus and the host may be of particular relevance due to the still developing adaptive immune system. Data indicate that genetic variants of defensins and Toll-Like Receptors (TLRs), key elements of innate immunity, play a role in mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV-1, and in the outcome of pediatric HIV-1 disease. Although the mechanisms by which these genetic variants influence HIV-1 interactions with the host are still largely unknown, defensins and TLRs, along with their link with regulatory T cells (Tregs), may play a critical role in the onset and persistence of immune activation, a hallmark of HIV-1 disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-257
Number of pages9
JournalNew Microbiologica
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • β-defensins
  • Immune activation
  • TLR9
  • Tregs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)


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