Characterization of lymphocytes including B cells during early versus chronic HIV infection is important for understanding the impact of chronic viremia on immune cell function. In this setting, we investigated B cells before and after reduction of HIV plasma viremia by antiretroviral therapy (ART). At baseline, peripheral blood B-cell counts were significantly lower in both early and chronic HIVinfected individuals compared with uninfected controls. Similar to CD4+ but not CD8+ T cells, B-cell numbers in both groups increased significantly after ART. At baseline, B cells of early HIV-infected individuals were composed of a higher percentage of plasmablasts and resting memory B cells compared with chronic HIV-infected individuals whose B cells were composed of a higher percentage of immature/transitional and exhausted B cells compared with their early infection counterparts. At 1 year after ART, the percentage of resting memory B cells remained higher in early compared with chronic HIV-infected individuals. This difference translated into a better functional profile in that memory B-cell responses to HIV and non-HIV antigens were superior in early- compared with chronictreated HIV infected individuals. These findings provide new insights on B cells in HIV infection and how early initiation of ART may prevent irreversible immune system damage.
Moir, S., Buckner, C. M., Ho, J., Wang, W., Chen, J., Waldner, A. J., … Fauci, A. S. (2010). B cells in early and chronic HIV infection: Evidence for preservation of immune function associated with early initiation of antiretroviral therapy. Blood, 116(25), 5571–5579. https://doi.org/10.1182/blood-2010-05-285528