HIV infection results in a variety of immune abnormalities, which are especially pronounced in individuals with high viral titers. B cells are the antibody producing cells of the immune system and are not directly infected by HIV. However, HIV-infected individuals exhibit abnormalities in memory B cell populations and only rarely generate antibodies that effectively target the virus. A new study in JCI Insight identifies deficiencies in the affinity maturation process of memory B cells in HIV-infected individuals that result in an inadequate antibody response. Eric Meffre, Susan Moire, and colleagues at Yale University and the National Institutes of Health evaluated HIV-specific memory B cell populations and the HIV-targeting antibodies produced by these cells from chronically HIV-infected patients. A population of memory B cells, known as tissue-like memory cells, was more abundant than conventional memory B cells in the blood of HIV-infected individuals. The tissue-like memory B cells had a low frequency of somatic hypermutation, and the HIV-neutralizing capacity of monoclonal antibodies from these B cells was low. Together, the results of this study provide important insight into HIV-dependent immune dysfunction.
Maturational characteristics of HIV-specific antibodies in viremic individuals
Yale University School of Medicine
National Institutes of Health
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