Human α Defensin in HIV-Exposed but Uninfected Individuals

Daria Trabattoni, Sergio Lo Caputo, Giada Maffeis, Francesca Vichi, Mara Biasin, Piera Pierotti, Francesca Fasano, Marina Saresella, Mario Franchini, Pasquale Ferrante, Francesco Mazzotta, Mario Clerici

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Human α defensins 1, 2, and 3 are produced by CD8+ T cells of HIV-infected long-term nonprogressors and have an antiviral activity. α Defensins were examined in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), cervical-vaginal mononuclear cells (CVMCs), and cervical biopsies of 9 HIV-1-exposed but uninfected women (ESNs), 10 HIV-infected patients (HIV), and 13 low-risk healthy controls (HCs). Results showed that, whereas α defensin production and α defensin-expressing CD8 lymphocytes were comparable in ESNs and HIV patients, constitutive α defensin production by peripheral CD8 and CVMCs was augmented in ESNs compared with HCs (P = 0.001 and P = 0.058, respectively); α defensin mRNA was increased in PBMCs of ESNs; unstimulated, α defensin-expressing peripheral and mucosal CD8 lymphocytes were 10-fold higher in ESNs compared with HCs (P = 0.003 and P = 0.01, respectively); and α defensin mRNA and α defensin-expressing cells were augmented in cervical biopsies of ESN compared with HCs (mRNA: P = 0.03). The differences were reduced upon in vitro mitogen stimulation. A robust constitutive production of α defensin is seen in HIV-exposed uninfected individuals; these peptides could have a role in the potentially protective immune response that characterizes ESNs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)455-463
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Apr 15 2004


  • α defensin
  • Exposed-uninfected individuals
  • HIV
  • Immunology
  • T lymphocytes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Immunology


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