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Clinical and Developmental Immunology
Volume 2013, Article ID 852418, 9 pages
Review Article

Loss and Dysregulation of Th17 Cells during HIV Infection

Department of Microbiology & Immunology, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD 20814, USA

Received 1 March 2013; Accepted 10 May 2013

Academic Editor: Samuel Huber

Copyright © 2013 Sandra L. Bixler and Joseph J. Mattapallil. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Bacterial translocation across the damaged mucosal epithelium has emerged as a major paradigm for chronic immune activation observed during HIV infection. T helper 17 (Th17) cells are a unique lineage of T helper cells that are enriched in mucosal tissues and are thought to play a central role in protecting the integrity of the mucosal barrier and maintaining immune homeostasis at mucosal sites. Th17 cells are lost very early during the course of HIV infection, and their loss has been shown to correlate with bacterial translocation. Interestingly, Th17 cells are unable to completely recover from the early destruction even after successful antiretroviral therapy (ART). Here, we review some of the potential mechanisms for the loss and dysregulation of Th17 cells during HIV infection.