New evidence of how HIV gets around immune system

July 15th, 2008 - 12:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, July 15 (IANS) A new study has revealed yet another way in which HIV gets around the human immune system. The study found that antibodies called B Cells that coat HIV particles to prevent them from infecting other cells - besides triggering their destruction by immune cells - tend to slacken off gradually.

The reason for this intriguing behaviour, according to the study by scientists at the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is that HIV gradually depletes the numbers of healthy, functional B Cells.

The study found that individuals who had high levels of HIV had plenty of B cells to start with, but they failed to replicate normally or to produce high-quality antibodies.

A study of the B Cells has revealed that when fatigued or overworked, they tended to produce a protein called FCRL4, which dampens its ability to respond to infection.

How exactly HIV triggers the production of FCRL4 is still not known.

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.

The findings of the study have been published in the latest issue of the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

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