HIV’s impact on B cellsJan. 15, 2014, 8:00 AM
Infection with HIV-1 (human immunodeficiency virus type 1) induces defects in both cellular and humoral (antibody) immune responses. To understand the extent of antibody-producing B cell dysfunction during HIV-1 infection, Spyros Kalams, M.D., associate professor of Medicine, and colleagues studied B cells from HIV-infected and HIV-negative individuals.
They found that B cells from HIV-infected individuals with higher viral loads had higher baseline expression of the activation marker CD86 and decreased ability to respond to HIV-1 in vitro. They also showed that B cells from HIV-infected individuals had higher expression of the inhibitory molecule PD-1 and that PD-1 blockade improved B cell responsiveness to HIV-1.
The findings, reported Dec. 16 in PLOS ONE, demonstrate that during chronic HIV-1 infection, B cells are activated but lose their full capacity to respond to antigen. The results also show that suppression of inhibitory molecules (along with a robust helper T cell response) may help preserve B cell function, which could have implications for HIV vaccine development.
This research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (AI078064, AI089554).
Send suggestions for articles to highlight in Aliquots and any other feedback about the column to email@example.com