Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

How HIV outmaneuvers the immune system

05.11.2002


T cells and antibody-producing B cells carry out immune defense against specific pathogens such as viruses. Antibodies and T cell receptors are highly diverse molecules that can recognize millions of different molecules. Upon encounter of a foreign antigen (such as a molecule from the surface of a virus), T cells and B cells whose receptors match that particular antigen expand dramatically, providing the immune system with a large number of very specific defenders. After an attack is fought off, the overall numbers of specific T and B cells go down again, but a few of them become long-lived so-called "memory cells" that ensure a quick re-mobilization should the same type of attacker strike again.



T cells consist of two major groups: CD4-positive T helper cells (who help other immune cells in mounting an effective response) and CD8-positive killer T cells. HIV infects and destroys CD4-positive cells, leaving patients with a crippled immune system. Throughout the course of HIV disease, however, patients have high levels of HIV-specific killer T cells. Early after initial infection, these cells are able to effectively kill the virus and reduce viral load. On the other hand, during the later stage of disease killer T cells, while still present, seem no longer able to control the virus. In an article in the November 4 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Premlata Shankar and colleagues from the Center for Blood Research at Harvard Medical School suggest why this might be the case.

The researchers compared killer T cells from HIV infected asymptomic individuals with those from symptomatic AIDS patients. They examined the killer cells’ ability to eliminate target cells infected with laboratory strains of HIV on one hand, and with autologous virus (isolated from the patient) on the other. What they found is that killer T cells from asymptomatic individuals can recognize and kill both types of target cells. In contrast, the killer T cells from symptomatic patients, while still able to recognize and eliminate the laboratory strain targets, no longer killed target cells that were infected with their own, autologous, virus. This is likely due to the virus’ propensity to mutate and the in inability of the patient’s weakened immune system to keep up with the changing virus.


These results demonstrate that the high number of HIV-specific killer T cells found in AIDS patients are remnants of what used to be an effective response early after infection but no longer recognize the mutated autologous virus. Moreover, these findings reveal that conventional assays to measure killer T cell responses in HIV patients--which focus on responses to laboratory strains--do not accurately reflect but overestimate the response to the patient’s autologous virus.


CONTACT:
Premlata Shankar
Harvard Medical School
The Center for Blood Research
800 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
USA
PHONE: 617-278-3476
FAX: 617-278-3403
E-mail: shankar@cbr.med.harvard.edu

Brooke Grindlinger | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.jci.org/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator
23.02.2018 | University of Turku

nachricht Minimising risks of transplants
22.02.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Attoseconds break into atomic interior

A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.

In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...

Im Focus: Good vibrations feel the force

A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.

By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Basque researchers turn light upside down

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator

23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Attoseconds break into atomic interior

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>