February 29, 2024

Why Comorbidities Persist: HIV Infection Leaves a “Memory” in Cells

In the study, researchers from the George Washington University demonstrate how an HIV protein permanently changes immune cells in a way that causes them to overreact to other pathogens. When the protein is introduced to immune cells, the researchers discovered that genes in those cells associated with swelling turn on, or become expressed. These pro-inflammatory genes stay revealed, even when the HIV protein is no longer in the cells. This “immunologic memory” of the initial HIV infection is why people coping with HIV are prone to prolonged swelling, putting them at higher threat for developing cardiovascular disease and other comorbidities, according to the researchers.
” This research study highlights the significance of physicians and patients recognizing that suppressing or perhaps getting rid of HIV does not remove the danger of these dangerous comorbidities,” Michael Bukrinsky, professor of microbiology, immunology, and tropical medicine at GWs School of Medicine and Health Science and lead author on the study, said. “Patients and their doctors need to still go over ways to minimize swelling and researchers must continue pursuing potential therapeutic targets that can decrease swelling and co-morbidities in HIV-infected patients.”
For the study, the research study team isolated human immune cells in vitro and exposed them to the HIV protein Nef. Compared to cells that were not exposed to the HIV protein, the Nef-exposed cells produced a raised level of inflammatory proteins, called cytokines.
These findings might help discuss why particular comorbidities persist following other viral infections, including COVID-19, Bukrinsky said.
” Weve seen this pro-inflammatory immunologic memory reported with other pathogenic agents and frequently referred to as experienced immunity,” Bukrinsky explains. “While this qualified immunity evolved as an useful immune process to secure against new infections, in particular cases it might lead to pathological results. The ultimate impact depends on the length of this memory, and extended memory might underlie long-lived inflammatory conditions like we see in HIV infection or long COVID.”
Reference: “Extracellular blisters carrying HIV-1 Nef cause long-lasting hyperreactivity of myeloid cells” by Larisa Dubrovsky, Beda Brichacek, N.M. Prashant, Tatiana Pushkarsky, Nigora Mukhamedova, Andrew J. Fleetwood, Yangsong Xu, Dragana Dragoljevic, Michael Fitzgerald, Anelia Horvath, Andrew J. Murphy, Dmitri Sviridov and Michael I. Bukrinsky, 14 November 2022, Cell Reports.DOI: 10.1016/ j.celrep.2022.111674.
The National Institute of Healths National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute supported this research.

Image of HIV. Credit: CDC/ C. Goldsmith, P. Feorino, E. L. Palmer, W. R. McManus
New research exposes why comorbidities persist in people coping with HIV, in spite of reducing the virus through treatment.
People dealing with HIV typically suffer from persistent swelling, even though antiretroviral treatment has made HIV a manageable illness. This can put them at an increased danger of establishing comorbidities such as heart disease and neurocognitive dysfunction, which can make a considerable effect on the durability and quality of their lives. Now, a new research study released in the journal Cell Reports on November 14 discusses why chronic inflammation may be taking place and how suppression or even elimination of HIV in the body may not resolve it.

” This research study highlights the value of doctors and patients acknowledging that suppressing or perhaps eliminating HIV does not remove the danger of these harmful comorbidities.”– Michael Bukrinsky

For the research study, the research team separated human immune cells in vitro and exposed them to the HIV protein Nef. Compared to cells that were not exposed to the HIV protein, the Nef-exposed cells produced a raised level of inflammatory proteins, called cytokines.

People living with HIV often suffer from chronic swelling, even though antiretroviral therapy has actually made HIV a workable disease. Now, a brand-new study released in the journal Cell Reports on November 14 explains why persistent swelling might be happening and how suppression or even obliteration of HIV in the body might not resolve it.