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 Nitric oxide-scavenging hydrogel developed for rheumatoid arthritis treatment
06.06.2019 | Pohang University of Science & Technology (POSTECH)

nachricht Infants later diagnosed with autism follow adults’ gaze, but seldom initiate joint attention
24.05.2019 | Schwedischer Forschungsrat - The Swedish Research Council

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: MPSD team discovers light-induced ferroelectricity in strontium titanate

Light can be used not only to measure materials’ properties, but also to change them. Especially interesting are those cases in which the function of a material can be modified, such as its ability to conduct electricity or to store information in its magnetic state. A team led by Andrea Cavalleri from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg used terahertz frequency light pulses to transform a non-ferroelectric material into a ferroelectric one.

Ferroelectricity is a state in which the constituent lattice “looks” in one specific direction, forming a macroscopic electrical polarisation. The ability to...

Im Focus: Determining the Earth’s gravity field more accurately than ever before

Researchers at TU Graz calculate the most accurate gravity field determination of the Earth using 1.16 billion satellite measurements. This yields valuable knowledge for climate research.

The Earth’s gravity fluctuates from place to place. Geodesists use this phenomenon to observe geodynamic and climatological processes. Using...

Im Focus: Tube anemone has the largest animal mitochondrial genome ever sequenced

Discovery by Brazilian and US researchers could change the classification of two species, which appear more akin to jellyfish than was thought.

The tube anemone Isarachnanthus nocturnus is only 15 cm long but has the largest mitochondrial genome of any animal sequenced to date, with 80,923 base pairs....

Im Focus: Tiny light box opens new doors into the nanoworld

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have discovered a completely new way of capturing, amplifying and linking light to matter at the nanolevel. Using a tiny box, built from stacked atomically thin material, they have succeeded in creating a type of feedback loop in which light and matter become one. The discovery, which was recently published in Nature Nanotechnology, opens up new possibilities in the world of nanophotonics.

Photonics is concerned with various means of using light. Fibre-optic communication is an example of photonics, as is the technology behind photodetectors and...

Im Focus: Cost-effective and individualized advanced electronic packaging in small batches now available

Fraunhofer IZM is joining the EUROPRACTICE IC Service platform. Together, the partners are making fan-out wafer level packaging (FOWLP) for electronic devices available and affordable even in small batches – and thus of interest to research institutes, universities, and SMEs. Costs can be significantly reduced by up to ten customers implementing individual fan-out wafer level packaging for their ICs or other components on a multi-project wafer. The target group includes any organization that does not produce in large quantities, but requires prototypes.

Research always means trying things out and daring to do new things. Research institutes, universities, and SMEs do not produce in large batches, but rather...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

A new paradigm of material identification based on graph theory

17.06.2019 | Materials Sciences

Electron beam strengthens recyclable nanocomposite

17.06.2019 | Materials Sciences

Tiny probe that senses deep in the lung set to shed light on disease

17.06.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>