HIV infection and aging of the innate immune system

Anna C. Hearps, Thomas A. Angelovich, Anthony Jaworowski, John Mills, Alan L. Landay, Suzanne M. Crowe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The increased life expectancy of HIV-infected individuals due to improved treatment has revealed an unexpected increase in non-AIDS comorbidities that are typically associated with older age including cardiovascular disease, dementia and frailty. The majority of these diseases arise as the result of dysregulated systemic inflammation, and both the aged and HIV-infected individuals exhibit elevated basal levels of inflammation. In the elderly, increased inflammation and age-related diseases are associated with a state of impaired immunity called immunosenescence, which is thought to result from a lifetime of immune stimulation. It is now apparent that HIV induces premature immunosenescence within T-cells; however, the impact of HIV on aging of cells of the innate arm of the immune system is unknown. Innate immune cells play a central role in inflammation and are thus critical for the pathogenesis of inflammatory diseases. Limited evidence suggests HIV infection mimics age-related changes to innate immune cells; however, the extent of this effect and the mechanism underlying these changes remain to be defined. This review focuses on the impact of HIV infection on the function and aging of innate immune cells and discusses potential drivers of premature immunosenescence including chronic endotoxaemia, residual viraemia, telomere attrition and altered cellular signalling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)453-464
Number of pages12
JournalSexual Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • AIDS
  • immunosenescence
  • inflammation.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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