Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sperm May Play Leading Role In Spreading HIV

Date:
October 26, 2009
Source:
Rockefeller University Press
Summary:
Sperm, and not just the fluid it bathes in, can transmit HIV to macrophages, T cells, and dendritic cells (DCs), researchers report. By infecting DCs, which carry the virus and potently pass it to T cells, sperm may play a leading role in spreading HIV.

Spermatozoa (arrows) transmit HIV when they attach to dendritic cells (red).
Credit: Ceballos, A., et al. 2009. J. Exp. Med. doi:10.1084/jem.20091579

Sperm, and not just the fluid it bathes in, can transmit HIV to macrophages, T cells, and dendritic cells (DCs), report a team led by Ana Ceballos at the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina. By infecting DCs, which carry the virus and potently pass it to T cells, sperm may play a leading role in spreading HIV.

Related Articles


The article appears in the November 23, 2009 issue of the Journal of Experimental Medicine (online October 26).

During sexual intercourse, HIV-infected men transmit HIV through their semen, which carries free-floating virus as well as HIV-infected leukocytes. Traces of HIV have been detected on sperm as well, but the role they play in viral transmission has been a matter of debate. After all, men with vasectomies can transmit HIV. Now, Ceballos et al. show that HIV attaches to the surface of sperm and that these HIV carriers pass on the virus to DCs and other HIV targets.

Sperm express molecules known to interact with HIV's envelope, such as heparan sulfate and mannose receptors. The authors show that HIV relies on heparan sulfate to attach to sperm, but not mannose receptors as previously predicted.

Once attached, the virus was transmitted from sperm to DCs in culture. The DC receptors CD4 and DC-SIGN were required for transmission, suggesting that DCs pick up the virus by binding to sperm rather than by ingesting them. DCs matured after interacting with the sperm, producing tolerance-promoting cytokines like interleukin-10. The authors speculate that this immune-suppressing profile, versus an inflammatory profile, might also help the virus spread.

Sperm might reach DCs by passing through microabrasions in the vaginal or anal lining that often form during intercourse, suggest the authors. Or they might contact the finger-like projections of DCs that extend to the surface of mucosal linings. Furthermore, the team found that a slightly acidic pH, similar to the pH in the vagina after sex, promoted HIV-sperm binding and the subsequent rate of sperm-related DC infection.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Rockefeller University Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Rockefeller University Press. "Sperm May Play Leading Role In Spreading HIV." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091026093715.htm>.
Rockefeller University Press. (2009, October 26). Sperm May Play Leading Role In Spreading HIV. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 25, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091026093715.htm
Rockefeller University Press. "Sperm May Play Leading Role In Spreading HIV." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091026093715.htm (accessed January 25, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Mistakes Should Serve a Lesson Says WHO

Ebola Mistakes Should Serve a Lesson Says WHO

AFP (Jan. 25, 2015) The World Health Organization&apos;s chief on Sunday admitted the UN agency had been caught napping on Ebola, saying it should serve a lesson to avoid similar mistakes in future. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Disneyland Measles Outbreak Spreads To 5 States

Disneyland Measles Outbreak Spreads To 5 States

Newsy (Jan. 24, 2015) Much of the Disneyland measles outbreak is being blamed on the anti-vaccination movement. The CDC encourages just about everyone get immunized. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Growing Measles Outbreak Worries Calif. Parents

Growing Measles Outbreak Worries Calif. Parents

AP (Jan. 23, 2015) Public health officials are rushing to contain a measles outbreak that has sickened 70 people across 6 states and Mexico. The AP&apos;s Raquel Maria Dillon has more. (Jan. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 23, 2015) A Boston start-up is developing a wristband they say will help users break bad habits by jolting them with an electric shock. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins