Biologists have found a new “bunker” of HIV in the human body
MOSCOW, April 17 — RIA Novosti. The immunodeficiency virus can hide not only in immune blood cells, but also in the so-called macrophages, which complicate the process of his “exile” from the body in the treatment of chronic infection, say scientists in an article published in the journal Nature Medicine.
“This is revolutionary in its significance the findings as they show that HIV can hide not only in T-cells, but also in other tissues of the body. The fact that HIV is able to survive inside macrophages, means that any therapy needs to be able to destroy the virus in two very different cell types,” said Jenna Honeycutt (Honeycutt Jenna) from the University of North Carolina at chapel hill (USA).
As the scientists explain, today, HIV patients can live for tens of years, thanks to antiretroviral drugs — substances that suppress various steps of viral replication in the cells of the body. As they often have strong side effects, doctors are often forced to stop taking them for a few weeks.
At the termination of their reception of HIV “gets out of the trenches” and starts to rapidly replicate itself, often returning to the initial extent of disease for three or two weeks. In recent years, scientists are actively trying to find drugs or antibodies that would help to avoid such “counterattacks” of the virus, or would “kick” the virus out of the cells.
Honeycutt and her colleagues found that the virus is “digging” not only in T-cells it normally infects, but also in the so-called macrophages — ameboid cells that destroy bacteria, toxic particles and various “garbage”.
To such conclusion scientists have come, experimenting on a special breed of mice whose bone marrow is composed of human, not mouse cells. These rodents are now used to study diseases that attack various components of the immune system, including HIV. Changing the properties of bone marrow cells, scientists can “turn off” the various components of the immune system that allows you to understand what affects the virus and how he does it.
Watching as occurred with the HIV to enter the body of mice in the immune system which lacked T-cells, scientists realized that the virus was successfully propagated in the body of animals. Following this process “live”, Honeycutt and her team realized that the virus is able to penetrate not only in T cells but also macrophages.
Finding a similar trend, American virologist tested whether HIV “dig” in the macrophages and to survive the treatment with antiretroviral drugs. As it turned out, this is happening in the body approximately 30% of the mice experimented with biologists, the virus “resurrected” after the scientists stopped adding the drugs in the food of rodents.
Scientists believe that macrophages can act as the latent “reservoir” of HIV, which re-starts the infection after the destruction of virus particles with antibodies, drugs, or cleaning the body from T cells. Understanding where these cells accumulate while receiving antiretroviral drugs and how can they be addressed, will be the key to creating a real working cure for HIV, concludes Honeycutt.