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April 11, 2010

HIV invades through leaky cells: study

"HIV infects women by weakening a cell barrier in the reproductive tract that normally keeps viruses out, Canadian researchers have discovered.

"HIV breaks down the tight bonds between epithelial cells, which usually form a protective layer that prevents viruses from infecting other cells.

"This disintegration of the epithelial cell barrier that lines the reproductive tract is what allows HIV to be transmitted during intercourse, the researchers reported in this week's issue of the journal PloS Pathogens.

"Until now, scientists thought HIV might enter the reproductive tract through a small tear. The new findings suggest the response of epithelial cells to the virus itself might be to blame."

Read more: April 9, 2010