Patients with HIV have a compromised immunity and cannot be vaccinated against opportunistic infections because of low CD4+ T lymphocyte levels. But, in November 15 Journal of Clinical Investigation Mingquan Zheng and colleagues from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans show that CD4+ T cell–independent vaccination can be achieved against Pneumocystis carinii (PC), a frequent AIDS related oportunistic infection.

Zheng et al. found that bone marrow–derived dendritic cells expressing the murine CD40 ligand, when pulsed ex vivo by PC antigen, elicited significant titers of anti-PC IgG in CD4-deficient mice. In addition, vaccination with PC-pulsed, CD40L-modified DCs resulted in significant protection to PC pneumonia (J Clin Invest 2001, 108:1469-1474).

"These studies show promise for advances in CD4-independent vaccines against HIV-related pathogens", concluded the authors.

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