Myeloid cells such as monocytes, dendritic cells (DC) and macrophages (MΦ) are key components of the innate immune system contributing to the maintenance of tissue homeostasis and the development/resolution of immune responses to pathogens. Monocytes and DC, circulating in the blood or infiltrating various lymphoid and non-lymphoid tissues, are derived from distinct bone marrow precursors and are typically short lived. Conversely, recent studies revealed that subsets of tissue resident MΦ are long-lived as they originate from embryonic/fetal precursors that have the ability to self-renew during the life of an individual. Pathogens such as the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) highjack the functions of myeloid cells for viral replication (e.g., MΦ) or distal dissemination and cell-to-cell transmission (e.g., DC). Although the long-term persistence of HIV reservoirs in CD4+ T-cells during viral suppressive antiretroviral therapy (ART) is well documented, the ability of myeloid cells to harbor replication competent viral reservoirs is still a matter of debate. This review summarizes the current knowledge on the biology of monocytes and DC during homeostasis and in the context of HIV-1 infection and highlights the importance of future studies on long-lived resident MΦ to HIV persistence in ART-treated patients.
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