Ex vivo modeling of oral HIV transmission in human palatine tonsil

Diane M. Maher, Zhi Qiang Zhang, Timothy W. Schacker, Peter J. Southern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The majority of newly acquired HIV infections are believed to occur following transmission of virus infectivity across mucosal surfaces, although many mechanistic details still remain unresolved. We have used human ex vivo organ cultures and primary cell populations to analyze the cellular and molecular basis for mucosal HIV transmission. By using human palatine tonsil from routine tonsillectomies and semen from HIV-positive donors, we have created an experimental equivalent to oral HIV transmission. HIV infection was readily transferred into tonsillar lymphocytes, but this transmission into lymphocytes was dramatically reduced when the exposed lymphocyte populations were protected by intact mucosal surfaces. In this study, we consider the impact that leukocyte activation and morphological aberrations in surface structure may have on susceptibility to primary HIV infection and introduce novel time-lapse confocal microscopy procedures that begin to reveal the dynamic complexity associated with cell-mediated HIV transmission. This manuscript contains online supplemental material at http://www.jhc.org. Please visit this article online to view these materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)631-642
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2005


  • Confocal microscopy
  • HIV infection
  • Human organ culture
  • Lymphocyte activation
  • Palatine tonsil
  • Primary epithelial cells
  • Time-lapse imaging

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Ex vivo modeling of oral HIV transmission in human palatine tonsil'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this