Interfering with interferon boosts antiretroviral efficacy in HIV-infected mice

December 12, 2016

Although combined anti-retroviral therapy (cART) can help HIV-1-positive patients effectively manage their infection, some individuals experience ongoing activation of the immune system that can exacerbate disease progression. This chronic activation has been attributed to persistent signaling by type I interferons (IFN-I), proteins that bind to IFN receptors to regulate the immune system.

Two studies published this week in the JCI have demonstrated that antibodies targeting IFN-I signaling can enhance the effectiveness of cART in humanized mouse models of HIV-1 infection.

In work led by Scott Kitchen at UCLA, researchers treated HIV-1-infected mice with an antibody to block human IFN receptor 2. They observed reduced signs of T cell exhaustion and viral load, indicating a decrease in chronic activation and improved infection management, respectively.

Lishan Su's lab at the University of North Carolina developed a different antibody targeting the human IFNα/β receptor and observed that it, too, reversed immune hyperactivation in the mouse model.

In both studies, blockade of IFN-I synergized with cART treatment, leading to better outcomes compared to HIV-1-infected mice treated with cART alone. The results of these two studies provide strong support for further evaluation of IFN-I blockade as a supplement to cART.

Explore further: Early antiretroviral therapy reduces gut inflammation in HIV+ individuals

More information: Anjie Zhen et al, Targeting type I interferon–mediated activation restores immune function in chronic HIV infection, Journal of Clinical Investigation (2016). DOI: 10.1172/JCI89488

Steven G. Deeks et al. The interferon paradox: can inhibiting an antiviral mechanism advance an HIV cure?, Journal of Clinical Investigation (2016). DOI: 10.1172/JCI91916

Related Stories

Targeting key cells for a dengue virus infection model

November 5, 2014

Dengue virus infects hundreds of millions of people living in tropical countries every year. Transmitted via mosquito bites, the virus typically causes fever, but may also lead to potentially fatal organ failure. The development ...

Overcoming immune exhaustion from chronic HIV infection

December 3, 2015

Chronic HIV infection results in exhaustion of the immune system, a phenomenon characterized by dysfunctional HIV-specific killer T cells. The exhausted T cells display inhibitory proteins on their surface, and scientists ...

Recommended for you

Every meal triggers inflammation

January 17, 2017

When we eat, we do not just take in nutrients – we also consume a significant quantity of bacteria. The body is faced with the challenge of simultaneously distributing the ingested glucose and fighting these bacteria. This ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.