Background: Aged individuals respond poorly to vaccination and have a higher risk of contracting infections in comparison to younger individuals; whether age impacts on the composition and function of B cell subpopulations relevant for immune responses is still controversial. It is also not known whether increased age during HIV-1 infection further synergizes with the virus to alter B cell subpopulations. In view of the increased number of HIV-1 infected patients living to high age as a result of anti-retroviral treatment this is an important issue to clarify.Results: In this work we evaluated the distribution of B cell subpopulations in young and aged healthy individuals and HIV-1 infected patients, treated and naïve to treatment. B cell populations were characterized for the expression of inhibitory molecules (PD-1 and FcRL4) and activation markers (CD25 and CD69); the capacity of B cells to respond to activation signals through up-regulation of IL-6 expression was also evaluated. Increased frequencies of activated and tissue-like memory B cells occurring during HIV-1 infection are corrected by prolonged ART therapy. Our findings also reveal that, in spite of prolonged treatment, resting memory B cells in both young and aged HIV-1 infected patients are reduced in number, and all memory B cell subsets show a low level of expression of the activation marker CD25.Conclusions: The results of our study show that resting memory B cells in ART-treated young and aged HIV-1 infected patients are reduced in number and memory B cell subsets exhibit low expression of the activation marker CD25. Aging per se in the HIV-1 infected population does not worsen impairments initiated by HIV-1 in the memory B cell populations of young individuals.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2014 Amu et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
- B cells