Exhausted B cells fail to fight HIV

Jul 14, 2008

HIV tires out the cells that produce virus-fighting proteins known as antibodies, according to a human study that will be published online July 14 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

Antibodies stick to HIV particles, preventing them from infecting other cells and triggering their destruction by immune cells. This antibody response starts out strong in HIV-infected individuals but eventually peters out. To find out why, scientists from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases examined the cells that make the antibodies, known as B cells.

The group now finds that HIV gradually depletes the numbers of healthy, functional B cells. Individuals who had high levels of HIV in their blood had lots of B cells, but they failed to replicate normally or to produce high-quality antibodies. The fatigued B cells sported a protein called FCRL4, which dampens B cells' ability to respond to infection. How HIV turns on FCRL4 remains to be seen.

HIV is already known to knock out the defensive cells that directly attack and destroy infected cells. This new study reveals yet another way the virus dismantles the immune system.

Source: Journal of Experimental Medicine

Explore further: Scientists discover how a killer fungus attacks HIV patients

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Mechanism of dengue virus entry into cells revealed

Feb 17, 2014

Dengue fever, an infectious tropical disease caused by a mosquito-borne virus, afflicts millions of people each year, causing fever, headache, muscle and joint pains and a characteristic skin rash. In some ...

Recommended for you

Harm-reduction program optimizes HIV/AIDS prevention

Apr 21, 2014

(Medical Xpress)—New research from UC San Francisco and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation has found that clients participating in a harm-reduction substance use treatment program, the Stonewall Project, decrease their use ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Rising role seen for health education specialists

(HealthDay)—A health education specialist can help family practices implement quality improvement projects with limited additional financial resources, according to an article published in the March/April ...

FDA proposes first regulations for e-cigarettes

The federal government wants to prohibit sales of electronic cigarettes to minors and require approval for new products and health warning labels under regulations being proposed by the Food and Drug Administration.

When things get glassy, molecules go fractal

Colorful church windows, beads on a necklace and many of our favorite plastics share something in common—they all belong to a state of matter known as glasses. School children learn the difference between ...

FCC to propose pay-for-priority Internet standards

The Federal Communications Commission is set to propose new open Internet rules that would allow content companies to pay for faster delivery over the so-called "last mile" connection to people's homes.

SK Hynix posts Q1 surge in net profit

South Korea's SK Hynix Inc said Thursday its first-quarter net profit surged nearly 350 percent from the previous year on a spike in sales of PC memory chips.

Brazil enacts Internet 'Bill of Rights'

Brazil's president signed into law on Wednesday a "Bill of Rights" for the digital age that aims to protect online privacy and promote the Internet as a public utility by barring telecommunications companies ...