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A decreased number of CD4+ T cells is a major feature of HIV infection. Here we detected high CD54 expression on CD4+ T cells in HIV-infected individuals, and demonstrate that upregulated CD54 is associated with disease progression in individuals infected with HIV. We also show that CD54 expression leads to the killing of CD4+ T cells by NK cells in vitro, and that this is modulated by NF-κB/p65 signaling. Further, we demonstrate that metformin can suppress CD54 expression on CD4+ T cells by inhibiting NF-κB/p65 phosphorylation; thus, our data suggest that further studies to evaluate the potential role of metformin as adjunctive therapy to reconstitute immune function in HIV-infected individuals are warranted.

Original publication




Journal article


The Journal of infectious diseases

Publication Date



NHC Key Laboratory of AIDS Immunology (China Medical University), Department of Laboratory Medicine, The First Affiliated Hospital of China Medical University, Shenyang, China.