Finding a cure for HIV has led researchers from the National Institute of Health (NIH) to closely examine some of the unique circumstances associated with the condition. In recent tests, detailed information about TLM B cells and the formation of antibodies has come to light. The results show why many who are infected but receive no treatment for HIV, produce ineffective antibodies against the virus. Here is what they discovered.

What the Study Revealed About Antibodies in TLM B Cells

When a person is infected with HIV, and it goes untreated, the number of certain immune cells increases. The resting memory B cell is what typically resides in those with no infection. Once HIV has taken hold, this type of B cell declines in number, and the tissue-like memory B cell increases. What do these B cells do? How does this shift affect the fight against the HIV infection?

When a virus or another intruder infects the body, the TLM B cells will respond by dividing. These divisions produce antibodies specifically designed to attack the invader. The antibodies go through mutations along the way in an effort to become more effective. What researchers found, however, was that with HIV, the TLM B cells divided more than the resting memory cells. However, despite this, the antibodies that they produced did not mutate as much. Without the mutations, the virus proves no match for the antibodies. The resting memory B cells created efficient antibodies – just not enough to combat the infection.

Why This Study Is Important

This information is helping researchers understand why those with HIV seem unable to produce effective antibodies against the virus. Insight into this matter will aid the scientific community in coming up with new strategies to combat HIV and its spread. This discrepancy in the type of B cells a person has in his or her blood is just one of many important factors in the spread of HIV within a person’s body.