Lentiviruses have a long-documented association with macrophages. Abundant evidence exists for in vitro and, in a tissue-specific manner, in vivo infection of macrophages by the primate lentiviruses HIV-1 and SIV. However, macrophage contribution to aspects of HIV-1 and SIV pathogenesis, and their role in viral persistence in individuals on suppressive antiretroviral therapy, remains unclear. Here we discuss recent evidence implicating macrophages in HIV-1-mediated disease and highlight directions for further investigation.
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