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July 12, 2009

Polyclonal B Cell Differentiation and Loss of Gastrointestinal Tract Germinal Centers in the Earliest Stages of HIV-1 Infection

"What Do These Findings Mean?

"Although the depletion of gut-associated CD4+ T lymphocytes in early HIV-1 infection is well known, these new results demonstrate the effects of early HIV-1 infection on gut-associated and circulating B lymphocytes. The results of this study are limited by the methods used to analyze the antibodies induced by HIV infection and by only taking tissue samples from one region of the gut. Nevertheless, the findings of polyclonal B-cell activation and damage to gut-associated lymphoid follicles soon after HIV-1 infection may have implications for HIV-1 vaccine design. Specifically, these findings suggest that an effective HIV-1 vaccine will need to ensure that significant levels of neutralizing antibodies are present in people before HIV-1 infection and that other protective immune defenses are fully primed so that, in the event of HIV-1 infection, the virus can be dealt with effectively before it disables any part of the immune system."

Read more in PLoS Medicine, July 7, 2009. [Full text available, as in all PLoS publications.]