New research from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark shows that innate lymphoid cells (ILC) may have an important part in better understanding how HIV spreads through the body.
HIV destroys ILCs during the acute infection phase. This is important because ILVs help to balance the immune system as it fights infections.
Study results suggest earlier treatment for acute HIV infections may help to counteract the destruction of the ILCs, giving the immune system a better chance of fighting the disease. If treatments are administered later in the chronic infection station, which is the standard procedure, then the ILCs have already been destroyed.
"We can see that the ILCs are eradicated from the HIV patients' blood during acute HIV infection in the first weeks following infection -- and since we know that the ILCs in general are important for maintaining balance of the immune system -- it is probable that this can have an impact on the development of AIDS and immune deficiencies if the ILCs are destroyed,” study leader Henrik Kloeverpris from the University of Copenhagen said. “However, very early treatment a few days after infection protects patients against the loss of ILCs from the blood. Such treatment also protects other important components of the immune system which are similarly retained.”