Characterising B cell numbers and memory B cells in HIV infected and uninfected Malawian adults.

Longwe, H; Gordon, S; Malamba, R; French, N; (2010) Characterising B cell numbers and memory B cells in HIV infected and uninfected Malawian adults. BMC Infect Dis, 10. p. 280. ISSN 1471-2334 DOI:

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BACKGROUND: Untreated human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease disrupts B cell populations causing reduced memory and reduced naïve resting B cells leading to increases in specific co-infections and impaired responses to vaccines. To what extent antiretroviral treatment reverses these changes in an African population is uncertain. METHODS: A cross-sectional study was performed. We recruited HIV-uninfected and HIV-infected Malawian adults both on and off antiretroviral therapy attending the Queen Elizabeth Central hospital in Malawi. Using flow cytometry, we enumerated B cells and characterized memory B cells and compared these measurements by the different recruitment groups. RESULTS: Overall 64 participants were recruited - 20 HIV uninfected (HIV-), 30 HIV infected ART naïve (HIV+N) and 14 HIV-infected ART treated (HIV+T). ART treatment had been taken for a median of 33 months (Range 12-60 months). Compared to HIV- the HIV+N adults had low absolute number of naïve resting B cells (111 vs. 180 cells/?l p = 0.008); reduced memory B cells (27 vs. 51 cells/?l p = 0.0008). The HIV+T adults had B-cell numbers similar to HIV- except for memory B cells that remained significantly lower (30 vs. 51 cells/?l p = 0.02). In the HIV+N group we did not find an association between CD4 count and B cell numbers. CONCLUSIONS: HIV infected Malawian adults have abnormal B-cell numbers. Individuals treated with ART show a return to normal in B-cell numbers but a persistent deficit in the memory subset is noted. This has important implications for long term susceptibility to co-infections and should be evaluated further in a larger cohort study.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Infectious Disease Epidemiology
PubMed ID: 20860822
Web of Science ID: 283150500003


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