HIV specific CD8+ TRM-like cells in tonsils express exhaustive signatures in the absence of natural HIV control

Front Immunol

This article explores the immune response of a specific type of immune cell called CD8+ TRM-like cells in the tonsils of individuals who are not able to control HIV infection naturally. HIV is a virus that attacks the immune system, and some individuals are able to control the virus without the need for medication, while others struggle to do so.

The researchers focused on the tonsils, which are an important part of the immune system and a site where HIV can persist even with treatment. They investigated a specific group of immune cells called CD8+ TRM-like cells, which are known to play a crucial role in controlling infections at the site where they reside.

The study found that in individuals who cannot naturally control HIV, the CD8+ TRM-like cells in their tonsils exhibited what is known as “exhaustive signatures.” This means that these immune cells showed signs of being overworked and less effective in fighting the virus compared to individuals who can naturally control HIV.

Understanding why some individuals have difficulty controlling HIV while others can do so effectively is vital for developing better treatments and potential vaccines. By studying these immune cells in the tonsils, researchers hope to gain insights into the factors that contribute to HIV persistence and potentially discover new ways to strengthen the immune response against the virus.

Overall, this research sheds light on the complex interactions between the HIV virus and the immune system, and it may pave the way for novel therapeutic strategies to improve HIV control and eventually lead to better outcomes for individuals living with HIV.

SANTHE is an Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI) flagship programme funded by the Science for Africa Foundation through the DELTAS Africa programme; the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Gilead Sciences Inc.; and the Ragon Institute of Mass General, MIT, and Harvard.