Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Chronic Infection and T Cell Exhaustion

Our previous post on immune exhaustion due to chronic helminthic infection addressed the similarities between the immune dysregulation that occurred in HIV infection and that of prolonged helminthic infection. The article Immune Cells Fighting Chronic Infections Become Progressively 'Exhausted,' Ineffective also talks about the same dysregulation occurring with many viral infections which are prolonged, as in the case of hepatitis B and C.

"We knew that T cells responding to chronic infections become progressively compromised in many of their functional properties," says E. John Wherry, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Immunology Program at The Wistar Institute and lead author on the Immunity study. "Put simply, the T cells become exhausted as time passes. What we wanted to learn in our study was what the specific problems were with these cells and whether their depleted state could be reversed."

Chronic diseases as those common in Africa were not mentioned in this study, but as in the case of helminths, demand consideration.

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