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 Inselspital: Fewer CT scans needed after cerebral bleeding
20.03.2019 | Universitätsspital Bern

nachricht Building blocks for new medications: the University of Graz is seeking a technology partner
19.03.2019 | Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz

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: The taming of the light screw

DESY and MPSD scientists create high-order harmonics from solids with controlled polarization states, taking advantage of both crystal symmetry and attosecond electronic dynamics. The newly demonstrated technique might find intriguing applications in petahertz electronics and for spectroscopic studies of novel quantum materials.

The nonlinear process of high-order harmonic generation (HHG) in gases is one of the cornerstones of attosecond science (an attosecond is a billionth of a...

Im Focus: Magnetic micro-boats

Nano- and microtechnology are promising candidates not only for medical applications such as drug delivery but also for the creation of little robots or flexible integrated sensors. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) have created magnetic microparticles, with a newly developed method, that could pave the way for building micro-motors or guiding drugs in the human body to a target, like a tumor. The preparation of such structures as well as their remote-control can be regulated using magnetic fields and therefore can find application in an array of domains.

The magnetic properties of a material control how this material responds to the presence of a magnetic field. Iron oxide is the main component of rust but also...

Im Focus: Self-healing coating made of corn starch makes small scratches disappear through heat

Due to the special arrangement of its molecules, a new coating made of corn starch is able to repair small scratches by itself through heat: The cross-linking via ring-shaped molecules makes the material mobile, so that it compensates for the scratches and these disappear again.

Superficial micro-scratches on the car body or on other high-gloss surfaces are harmless, but annoying. Especially in the luxury segment such surfaces are...

Im Focus: Stellar cartography

The Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument (PEPSI) at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona released its first image of the surface magnetic field of another star. In a paper in the European journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, the PEPSI team presents a Zeeman- Doppler-Image of the surface of the magnetically active star II Pegasi.

A special technique allows astronomers to resolve the surfaces of faraway stars. Those are otherwise only seen as point sources, even in the largest telescopes...

Im Focus: Heading towards a tsunami of light

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have proposed a way to create a completely new source of radiation. Ultra-intense light pulses consist of the motion of a single wave and can be described as a tsunami of light. The strong wave can be used to study interactions between matter and light in a unique way. Their research is now published in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

"This source of radiation lets us look at reality through a new angle - it is like twisting a mirror and discovering something completely different," says...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

International Modelica Conference with 330 visitors from 21 countries at OTH Regensburg

11.03.2019 | Event News

Selection Completed: 580 Young Scientists from 88 Countries at the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

01.03.2019 | Event News

LightMAT 2019 – 3rd International Conference on Light Materials – Science and Technology

28.02.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Solving the efficiency of Gram-negative bacteria

22.03.2019 | Life Sciences

Bacteria bide their time when antibiotics attack

22.03.2019 | Life Sciences

Open source software helps researchers extract key insights from huge sensor datasets

22.03.2019 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>