Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Human genes can predict AIDS progression rate

03.07.2003


A Los Alamos National Laboratory researcher and her colleagues have found that people with less common types of proteins on their white blood cells seem to mount a better immune response against the Human Immunodeficiency Virus - the virus that causes AIDS - and tend to fight progression of the disease better than people with common white blood cell proteins.



The research, presented in the July issue of Nature Medicine, eventually might help researchers better understand and exploit potential weaknesses in HIV.

The researchers studied a large group of homosexual men who were enrolled in the Chicago component of the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study - an ongoing study of the natural and treated history of thousands of men infected with HIV - headed by Dr. Steven Wolinsky. The confidentiality of all individual study participants was preserved and the study itself was conducted in accordance with the highest recognized and accepted ethical standards.


Los Alamos researcher Bette Korber, Elizabeth Trachtenberg of Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute and colleagues examined the levels of AIDS virus and a type of T-cell in study participants. In healthy people, these "helper T-cells" help mount an immune response to an attacking organism. Since the AIDS virus attacks and destroys helper T-cells in humans - thereby limiting and eventually destroying a patient’s ability to stop the virus from replicating - the number of T-cells within an individual person is an indicator of the progression of the disease; the fewer the T-cells, the greater the level of HIV infection. The researchers were able to track the progression of the disease and the viral load within study participants over time.

Korber, Trachtenberg and colleagues compared viral load and rates of progression to proteins contained on the surface of white blood cells of study participants. The proteins, called human leukocyte antigens (HLAs), perform key functions in helping the body fight infection. They enable one type of T-cell that destroys cells infected with virus to recognize those infected cells. Destroying infected cells stops pathogens from multiplying within those infected cells.

HLAs come in several varieties, or types, and exhibit tremendous genetic diversity. Everyone carries different combinations of these proteins. This diversity ensures that no single pathogen can decimate an entire population. Consequently, human populations tend to maximize and increase the frequency of HLA subtypes to provide better immunity against a range of pathogens. Nevertheless, pathogens evolve over time and develop the ability to disguise themselves and hide from HLAs. The study indicates that the AIDS virus has developed mechanisms to evade the most common immune responses prompted by the most common HLA types.

In fact, Korber and her colleagues found that study participants who had the most common HLA protein types tended to succumb to progression to AIDS significantly more quickly than the participants who had more rare HLA protein types. In other words, the study indicates that HIV is able to outwit the most common HLA types that it usually has to confront, and to overwhelm the body’s immune system in individuals with common HLAs much more quickly than it can in patients with rare HLA types.

The researchers also were able to correlate the overall viral load of study participants with their combination of particular HLA types. Those patients with the more common proteins tended to get higher overall viral loads more rapidly than their rare-protein counterparts.

The study suggests that HIV adapts to the most frequent HLA proteins in a population, providing a selective advantage for patients with rare HLA proteins.

Korber and her colleagues cannot be absolutely sure that other subtle biological factors contribute to the association between HLA types and HIV progression. Therefore, Korber says, independent studies on other infected populations will be important to verify or refute the results of this study.


Los Alamos National Laboratory is operated by the University of California for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) of the U.S. Department of Energy and works in partnership with NNSA’s Sandia and Lawrence Livermore national laboratories to support NNSA in its mission.

Los Alamos enhances global security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction, and solving problems related to energy, environment, infrastructure, health and national security concerns.

James R. Rickman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.lanl.gov

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht A promising target for kidney fibrosis
21.04.2017 | Brigham and Women's Hospital

nachricht Stem cell transplants: activating signal paths may protect from graft-versus-host disease
20.04.2017 | Technische Universität München

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: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

DGIST develops 20 times faster biosensor

24.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Nanoimprinted hyperlens array: Paving the way for practical super-resolution imaging

24.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Atomic-level motion may drive bacteria's ability to evade immune system defenses

24.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>