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

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 spin state story: Observation of the quantum spin liquid state in novel material

New insight into the spin behavior in an exotic state of matter puts us closer to next-generation spintronic devices

Aside from the deep understanding of the natural world that quantum physics theory offers, scientists worldwide are working tirelessly to bring forth a...

Im Focus: Excitation of robust materials

Kiel physics team observed extremely fast electronic changes in real time in a special material class

In physics, they are currently the subject of intensive research; in electronics, they could enable completely new functions. So-called topological materials...

Im Focus: Electrons in the fast lane

Solar cells based on perovskite compounds could soon make electricity generation from sunlight even more efficient and cheaper. The laboratory efficiency of these perovskite solar cells already exceeds that of the well-known silicon solar cells. An international team led by Stefan Weber from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz has found microscopic structures in perovskite crystals that can guide the charge transport in the solar cell. Clever alignment of these "electron highways" could make perovskite solar cells even more powerful.

Solar cells convert sunlight into electricity. During this process, the electrons of the material inside the cell absorb the energy of the light....

Im Focus: The lightest electromagnetic shielding material in the world

Empa researchers have succeeded in applying aerogels to microelectronics: Aerogels based on cellulose nanofibers can effectively shield electromagnetic radiation over a wide frequency range – and they are unrivalled in terms of weight.

Electric motors and electronic devices generate electromagnetic fields that sometimes have to be shielded in order not to affect neighboring electronic...

Im Focus: Gentle wall contact – the right scenario for a fusion power plant

Quasi-continuous power exhaust developed as a wall-friendly method on ASDEX Upgrade

A promising operating mode for the plasma of a future power plant has been developed at the ASDEX Upgrade fusion device at Max Planck Institute for Plasma...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Contact Tracing Apps against COVID-19: German National Academy Leopoldina hosts international virtual panel discussion

07.07.2020 | Event News

International conference QuApps shows status quo of quantum technology

02.07.2020 | Event News

Dresden Nexus Conference 2020: Same Time, Virtual Format, Registration Opened

19.05.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

X-ray scattering shines light on protein folding

10.07.2020 | Life Sciences

Looking at linkers helps to join the dots

10.07.2020 | Materials Sciences

Surprisingly many peculiar long introns found in brain genes

10.07.2020 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>