Nav: Home

Researchers uncover new piece of the HIV puzzle

February 03, 2016

A research project headed by Henrik Kloeverpris, a postdoc at the Department of Immunology and Microbiology at the University of Copenhagen, shows that the so-called ILCs (innate lymphoid cells) - a component of the immune system crucial to maintaining immune system balance - are destroyed in patients infected with HIV. This study highlights the importance of early treatment during an acute HIV infection. If treatment is initiated during the later chronic infection stage - as in current standard procedure - the ILCs are eradicated. The findings were published in the scientific journal Immunity, and the research was carried out at Kwa Zulu-Natal Research Institute for TB & HIV (K-RITH) in Durban, South Africa, where Henrik Kloeverpris is working currently.

"We can see that the ILCs are eradicated from the HIV patients' blood during acute HIV infection in the first weeks following infection - and since we know that the ILCs in general are important for maintaining balance of the immune system - it is probable that this can have an impact on the development of AIDS and immune deficiencies if the ILCs are destroyed. However, very early treatment a few days after infection protects patients against the loss of ILCs from the blood. Such treatment also protects other important components of the immune system which are similarly retained," explains Henrik Kloeverpris. The HIV disease process has not yet been fully mapped. ILC, therefore, may prove to be a key component here, although at present the consequences of ILC loss from the blood for HIV infection are not yet known. Henrik Kloeverpris hopes that the new research will pave the way for a better understanding of the disease.

"We hope to take the first step towards a better understand of the progression of the disease so that we can identify new methods to manipulate the immune system and thus prevent the disease from developing. This is important for HIV patients during antiviral treatment, as the immune systems of these patients show increased activity, which is an important factor in the development of AIDS. Looking further ahead, we are hoping to be able to find or develop drugs that can affect the ILCs," says Henrik Kloeverpris.

The research was conducted in Alasdair Leslie's laboratory at Kwa Zulu-Natal Research Institute for TB & HIV (K-RITH) in Durban, South Africa, where in some areas the percentage of young women infected with HIV is higher than 40. With such a background population, the researchers were able to study acute HIV infection by testing HIV-negative young women twice a week, and in this way, 'catch' women who turned out to be HIV-positive a few days after their last negative test.
-end-
Facts: HIV

HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus, which can lead to AIDS if left untreated. Unlike some other viruses, the body does not completely rid itself of HIV. HIV attacks the body's immune system. If left untreated, HIV reduces the number of CD4 cells (T cells) in the body, making it more prone to infection. Over time, HIV can destroy so many of these cells that the body can no longer fight off infection and disease.

HIV infection is considered a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). It is estimated that between 40 and 50 million people are infected worldwide, with more than 60 per cent of these occurring in sub-Saharan Africa. HIV-infected people account for 0.6 per cent of the global population. In 2005 alone, between 2.4 and 3.3 million people died from AIDS, of which more than 570,000 fatalities were children. For the most seriously affected countries in Africa, the epidemic has resulted in both economic and social ruin, and is a major cause of increased poverty.

Facts: Treatment

Currently, there is no effective cure for HIV, but with the right treatment and medical care, HIV can be controlled. The medicine used for treating HIV is called antiviral treatment or ART. If taken daily as prescribed, this medicine can extend the life of many people with HIV, keeping them healthy, and, to a large extent, reduce the risk of transferring viruses to others.

Facts: ILC

ILC is a group of the white cells in the blood. Other groups include T-cells and B-cells, for example.

University of Copenhagen The Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Related Immune System Articles:

The immune system may explain skepticism towards immigrants
There is a strong correlation between our fear of infection and our skepticism towards immigrants.
New insights on how pathogens escape the immune system
The bacterium Salmonella enterica causes gastroenteritis in humans and is one of the leading causes of food-borne infectious diseases.
Understanding how HIV evades the immune system
Monash University (Australia) and Cardiff University (UK) researchers have come a step further in understanding how the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) evades the immune system.
Carbs during workouts help immune system recovery
Eating carbohydrates during intense exercise helps to minimise exercise-induced immune disturbances and can aid the body's recovery, QUT research has found.
A new model for activation of the immune system
By studying a large protein (the C1 protein) with X-rays and electron microscopy, researchers from Aarhus University in Denmark have established a new model for how an important part of the innate immune system is activated.
Guards of the human immune system unraveled
Dendritic cells represent an important component of the immune system: they recognize and engulf invaders, which subsequently triggers a pathogen-specific immune response.
How our immune system targets TB
Researchers have seen, for the very first time, how the human immune system recognizes tuberculosis (TB).
How a fungus inhibits the immune system of plants
A newly discovered protein from a fungus is able to suppress the innate immune system of plants.
A new view of the immune system
Pathogen epitopes are fragments of bacterial or viral proteins. Nearly a third of all existing human epitopes consist of two different fragments.
TB tricks the body's immune system to allow it to spread
Tuberculosis tricks the immune system into attacking the body's lung tissue so the bacteria are allowed to spread to other people, new research from the University of Southampton suggests.

Related Immune System Reading:

The Immune System, 4th Edition
by Peter Parham (Author)

The Immune System, Fourth Edition emphasizes the human immune system and presents immunological concepts in a coherent, concise, and contemporary account of how the immune system works. Written for undergraduate, medical, veterinary, dental, and pharmacy students, it makes generous use of medical examples to illustrate points. This classroom-proven textbook offers clear writing, full-color illustrations, and section and chapter summaries that make the book accessible and easily understandable to students.

The Fourth Edition is a major revision that brings the content... View Details


How the Immune System Works (The How it Works Series)
by Lauren M. Sompayrac (Author)

How the Immune System Works has helped thousands of students understand what’s in their big, thick, immunology textbooks. In his book, Dr. Sompayrac cuts through the jargon and details to reveal, in simple language, the essence of this complex subject.

In fifteen easy-to-read chapters, featuring the humorous style and engaging analogies developed by Dr. Sompayrac, How the Immune System Works explains how the immune system players work together to protect us from disease – and, most importantly, why they do it this way.

Rigorously updated for this fifth... View Details


The Immune System Recovery Plan: A Doctor's 4-Step Program to Treat Autoimmune Disease
by Susan Blum (Author), Mark Hyman (Foreword), Michele Bender (Foreword)

One of the most sought-after experts in the field of functional medicine shares her proven four-step program to treat, reverse, and prevent autoimmune conditions and repair your immune system.

• Are you constantly exhausted?

• Do you frequently feel sick?

• Are you hot when others are cold, or cold when everyone else is warm?

• Do you have trouble thinking clearly, aka “brain fog”?

• Do you often feel irritable?

• Are you experiencing hair loss, dry skin, or unexplained weight fluctuation?

• Do your joints ache or... View Details


The Immune System: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
by Paul Klenerman (Author)

The immune system is central to human health and the focus of much medical research. Growing understanding of the immune system, and especially the creation of immune memory (long lasting protection), which can be harnessed in the design of vaccines, have been major breakthroughs in medicine.

In this Very Short Introduction, Paul Klenerman describes the immune system, and how it works in health and disease. In particular he focuses on the human immune system, considering how it evolved, the basic rules that govern its behavior, and the major health threats where it is... View Details


Immune: How Your Body Defends and Protects You (Bloomsbury Sigma)
by Catherine Carver (Author)

The human body is like an exceedingly well-fortified castle, defended by billions of soldiers--some live for less than a day, others remember battles for decades, but all are essential in protecting us from disease. This hidden army is our immune system, and without it we could not survive the eternal war between us and our microscopic enemies.

Immune explores the incredible arsenal that lives within us--how it knows what to attack and what to defend, and how it kills everything from the common cold to the plague bacterium. We see what happens when the immune system turns on... View Details


Basic Immunology: Functions and Disorders of the Immune System, 5e
by Abul K. Abbas MBBS (Author), Andrew H. H. Lichtman MD PhD (Author), Shiv Pillai MBBS PhD (Author)

In this updated edition of Basic Immunology, the authors continue to deliver a clear, modern introduction to immunology, making this the obvious choice for today's busy students. Their experience as teachers, course directors, and lecturers helps them to distill the core information required to understand this complex field. Through the use of high-quality illustrations, relevant clinical cases, and concise, focused text, it's a perfectly accessible introduction to the workings of the human immune system, with an emphasis on clinical relevance.... View Details


The Immune System, 3rd Edition
by Peter Parham (Author)

The Immune System, Third Edition emphasizes the human immune system and synthesizes immunological concepts into a comprehensible, up-to-date, and reader-friendly account of how the immune system works. 

Written for undergraduate, medical, veterinary, dental, and pharmacy students in immunology courses, it makes generous use of medical examples to illustrate points. 

The Third Edition has been extensively revised and updated and includes two new chapters on innate and adaptive immunity, which explore the physical, cellular, and molecular principles... View Details


Immune System: 101 Natural Ways to Boost your Immune System, Fight Germs, and Live a Healthy Life
by Living in Health (Author)

BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM! 101 NATURAL WAYS TO BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM, FIGHT GERMS, AND LIVE A HEALTHY LIFE Your immune system is the body’s only line of defense against both foreign and internal threats. It is clear therefore that you must maintain your immune system in the best possible condition for optimal health. It is not a myth that some foods are better than others at boosting our immunity. If you were ever wondering what might be the best foods in the world to help keep your immune system in the best shape, then this book is simply the way to go. It really helps to have a great... View Details


In Defense of Self: How the Immune System Really Works
by William R. Clark (Author)

We live in a sea of seething microbial predators, an infinity of invisible and invasive microorganisms capable of setting up shop inside us and sending us to an early grave. The only thing keeping them out? The immune system.

William Clark's In Defense of Self offers a refreshingly accessible tour of the immune system, putting in layman's terms essential information that has been for too long the exclusive province of trained specialists. Clark explains how the immune system works by using powerful genetic, chemical, and cellular weapons to protect us from the vast majority... View Details


The Immune System
by Peter Parham (Author)

The Immune System, Second Edition has been designed for use in immunology courses for undergraduate, medical, dental, and pharmacy students. This class-tested and successful textbook synthesizes the established facts of immunology into a comprehensible, coherent, and up-to-date account of how the immune system works, rather than presenting immunology as a chronology of experiments and discoveries. Emphasizing the human immune system the text has been designed to break down the barriers which often divide basic and clinical immunology. The reader-friendly text, section and chapter... View Details

Best Science Podcasts 2018

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2018. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Peering Deeper Into Space
The past few years have ushered in an explosion of new discoveries about our universe. This hour, TED speakers explore the implications of these advances — and the lingering mysteries of the cosmos. Guests include theoretical physicist Allan Adams, planetary scientist Sara Seager, and astrophysicists Natasha Hurley-Walker and Jedidah Isler.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#461 Adhesives
This week we're discussing glue from two very different times. We speak with Dr. Jianyu Li about his research into a new type of medical adhesive. And Dr. Geeske Langejans explains her work making and investigating Stone Age and Paleolithic glues.