Mucosal immune responses in the genital tract of HIV-1-exposed uninfected women


Professor Kristina Broliden, Unit of Infectious Diseases, B2:00, Karolinska University Hospital, Solna, 171 76 Stockholm, Sweden. (fax: +46 8 7178501; e-mail:


The development of HIV-1 vaccines and microbicides remains hindered by our limited understanding of correlates of immune protection to infection. Evidence indicating that resistance to HIV-1 infection is indeed possible comes from HIV-1-exposed yet uninfected individuals, including cohorts of commercial sex workers and discordant couples. Despite their uninfected status some of these individuals have mucosal and systemic HIV-1-specific humoral and cellular immune responses in addition to their innate immune response. The combined contribution of innate and adaptive immunity as well as genetic factors is most likely of great importance for this protection against infection. Here we review data on the antibody responses and secreted immune molecules of the innate immune system in the female genital tract with emphasis on individuals who seem to resist HIV-1-infection despite repeated exposure to the virus.