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J Infect Dis. 2011 Aug 15;204(4):534-43. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jir316.

Deteriorating pneumococcal-specific B-cell memory in minimally symptomatic African children with HIV infection.

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Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Bristol, United Kingdom.


Invasive pneumococcal disease is a leading cause of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-associated mortality in sub-Saharan African children. Defective T-cell-mediated immunity partially explains this high disease burden, but there is an increased risk of invasive pneumococcal disease even in the context of a relatively preserved percentage of CD4 cells. We hypothesized that impaired B-cell immunity to this pathogen further amplifies the immune defect. We report a shift in the B-cell compartment toward an apoptosis-prone phenotype evident early in HIV disease progression. We show that, although healthy HIV-uninfected and minimally symptomatic HIV-infected children have similar numbers of isotype-switched memory B cells, numbers of pneumococcal protein antigen-specific memory B cells were lower in HIV-infected than in HIV-uninfected children. Our data implicate defective naturally acquired B-cell pneumococcal immunity in invasive pneumococcal disease causation in HIV-infected children and highlight the need to study the functionality and duration of immune memory to novel pneumococcal protein vaccine candidates in order to optimize their effectiveness in this population.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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