Natural Killer (NK) Cells and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Infection

Manxue Jia*

Natural Killer (NK) Cells and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Infection

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) directly targets and devastates the host’s immune
system, leading to serious infection. Recently, research found innate immunity played very
important role in the host’s response against viruses, and increasing data indicate that innate
immune responses play a key role in the development of effective vaccine-induced immune

In particular, Natural Killer (NK) cells represent important early effector cells of
the antiviral innate immune defense, which was discovered from 1975 by Herberman.

NK cells, which account for up to 15% of Peripheral Blood Lymphocytes (PBL), are classified into
three subsets, CD3negCD16posCD56dim, which is composed of 80%~90% NK cells; CD3negCD56bright, which is composed of 2~10% NK cells; and CD3negCD16posCD56neg,which is composed of 5~10% NK cells.

NK cells can lyse virally infected cells without prior sensitization and
participate in the regulation of innate and adaptive immune responses. The ability of NK cells
mediating protection against viral infection depends on the relative abundance of each subset.
Data from our laboratory and others have demonstrated that the clinical progression of HIV is
correlated with changes in the distribution of NK cell sub-populations, namely a decrease in
CD16posCD56dim subsets and an increase in CD16posCD56neg subsets.

HIV/AIDS Res Treat Open J. 2016; 3(1): 13-14. doi: 10.17140/HARTOJ-3-120