Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 24497833
PLoS Pathog. 2014 Jan;10(1):e1003915
IFN-I production is a characteristic of HIV/SIV primary infections. However, acute IFN-I plasma concentrations rapidly decline thereafter. Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC) are key players in this production but primary infection is associated with decreased responsiveness of pDC to TLR 7 and 9 triggering. IFNα production during primary SIV infection contrasts with increased pDC death, renewal and dysfunction. We investigated the contribution of pDC dynamics to both acute IFNα production and the rapid return of IFNα concentrations to pre-infection levels during acute-to-chronic transition. Nine cynomolgus macaques were infected with SIVmac251 and IFNα-producing cells were quantified and characterized. The plasma IFN-I peak was temporally associated with the presence of IFNα(+) pDC in tissues but IFN-I production was not detectable during the acute-to-chronic transition despite persistent immune activation. No IFNα(+) cells other than pDC were detected by intracellular staining. Blood-pDC and peripheral lymph node-pDC both lost IFNα(-) production ability in parallel. In blood, this phenomenon correlated with an increase in the counts of Ki67(+)-pDC precursors with no IFNα production ability. In tissues, it was associated with increase of both activated pDC and KI67(+)-pDC precursors, none of these being IFNα(+) in vivo. Our findings also indicate that activation/death-driven pDC renewal rapidly blunts acute IFNα production in vivo: pDC sub-populations with no IFNα-production ability rapidly increase and shrinkage of IFNα production thus involves both early pDC exhaustion, and increase of pDC precursors.