Treatment reduces residual inflammation in monkeys infected with HIV-equivalent virus

Residual inflammation is held as the main cause of morbidity and mortality unrelated to AIDS among patients under antiretroviral treatment


The new treatment could enhance these peoples lives by repairing their immune systems

Combining antiretroviral therapy with a protein known as Interleukin 21 (IL-21) provided promising results in monkeys infected with SIV, a virus equivalent to HIV in humans. This is the result of a research.published on Novembers edition of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

According to the researchers, combining antiretroviral treatment with the protein, which is an immune stimulator, could repair several types of cells in the intestines immune system. The residual inflammation is considered the key cause of morbidity and mortality unrelated to AIDS among patients under antiretroviral treatment.

We found that IL-21 is effective reducing residual inflammation and enhances recovering Th17 and Th22 cells, which are critical for intestinal immunity, explains Dr. Mirko Paiardini, author of the research and assistant professor at Emory University School of Medicine, in Atlanta, Georgia.

The antiretroviral drugs help patients suppress the HIV virus infection for many years. However, other health issues take place in the body of patients under this treatment, which is very aggressive to the body. The new treatment could enhance these people lives by repairing their immune systems.

Other important result, according to Dr. Paiardini, were the beneficial effects found with IL-21 treatment after interrupting antiretroviral treatment. Animals treated with IL-21 showed lower levels of immune activation up to 8 months after ART interruption (last point of the study), said the scientist.

IL-21 has never been tested in HIV-infected people – only in patients with skin and kidney cancer. Our research provides a rational base for additional pre-clinical studies on IL-21, as part of a combination strategy that aims to limit the size of the latent viral reservoir, contributing to remission or functional cure, clarified Dr. Paiardini.…