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‘Immunologic memory’ may explain chronic inflammation in HIV: study

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In a paper published in the journal Nov. 14, cell reportresearchers describe how HIV proteins permanently alter immune cells, causing them to overreact to other pathogens. is turned on or becomes manifest.

These pro-inflammatory genes remain expressed even when HIV proteins are no longer present in the cell. Researchers say this ‘immunological memory’ of their original HIV infection makes people living with HIV more susceptible to long-lasting inflammation and at a higher risk of developing comorbidities, including cardiovascular disease, neurocognitive dysfunction, and more. That’s why.

In this study, the team isolated human immune cells In vitro, they were exposed to an HIV protein called Nef. The amount of Nef introduced into cells is similar to that seen in approximately half of HIV-infected individuals taking antiretroviral drugs who have an undetectable HIV load. The researchers then introduced a bacterial toxin to generate an immune response from cells exposed to Nef.

Compared with cells not exposed to HIV proteins, cells exposed to Nef had elevated levels of inflammatory proteins or cytokines. When the team compared genes in cells exposed to Nef to those in cells not exposed to Nef, they identified proinflammatory genes that were “ready to be expressed” due to Nef exposure. did.

Suppressing or eliminating HIV does not eliminate the risk of comorbidities, so patients and their physicians “need to discuss ways to reduce inflammation,” says lead author GWU School of Medicine and Health Sciences. said Michael Bukrinsky, Professor of Microbiology, Immunology and Tropical Medicine at . , said in a statement.

The results of the study could also help explain why certain comorbidities persist after other viral infections, including COVID-19, Bukrinsky added.

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