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How HIV "burn out" the immune system

Dec 8, 2006

I recently read an article about Bruce Walker and his team at Massachussetts General Hospital in Boston. His team has found "the source" of what actually burns out the immune system over time. They attribute the immune system "burn out" from HIV to the following, "As HIV accumulates in the blood, specific immune cells that target viruses - called CD8 - begin to over produce a recepter molecule called Programmed Death-1. As this PD-1 builds up on the surface of the CD8 cells, the immune cells became weaker and produced fewer virus killing chemicals..." If this finding is found to be accurate then wouldn't there need to be some shift in focus from CD4 T cells to CD8 cells. This finding makes sense to me because so far scientist and doctors have used the ratio of CD4 cells and viral load as an indication of the HIV virus' progression; however there seems to be a problem with this theory as some studies have found that some individuals can have high CD4 counts as well as a high viral loads. Perhaps we should be looking at CD8 cells more closesly since high viral loads cause CD8 cells to "burn out"?? Could it be that the CD8 cells actually burn out first leading to the eventual decline of the CD4 cells??

Response from Dr. Holodniy

All of what you say is plausible, but requires more study.

Effective HAART?
viral rebound, viral reconstitution

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