Elevated HIV Viral Load Drives Immune Dysfunction

Viral load predicts immune cell response in patients with HIV.

A high viral load associated with a dampened inflammatory response was found to be a driver for innate immune dysfunction in HIV patients.

The study was performed by researchers from the Ragon Institute and the Heinrich Pette Institute, who studied multiple samples from HIV patients before and after initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART).

The results of the study, published in JCI Insight, showed that innate immune cells collected from patients after they started ART had an increased response to inflammatory stimuli compared with samples collected from patients before the initiation of ART.

Additionally, the viral load was more predictive of the innate immune cell response than other factors.

When researchers examined the white blood cell monocytes, they found that epigenetic modifications occurred at the locus of the gene encoding pro-inflammatory cytokine TNFα associated with high levels of virus.