How do the HIV proteins affect T-cell function?

Updated: Jul 01, 2019
  • Author: Nicholas John Bennett, MBBCh, PhD, MA(Cantab), FAAP; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

Several of the HIV proteins directly affect T-cell function, either by disrupting cell cycling or down-regulating the CD4 molecule. The loss of T cells is clearly a primary issue, as the T-cell repertoire narrows in terms of which antigens the immune system will recognize and respond to. Antiviral therapy is able to reverse these changes, [44] but the degree of reversal is decreased if therapy is initiated very late in the infection and is further decreased when therapy is initiated when CD4 T-cell counts are 200/µL and below.


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