Memory B-cell depletion is a feature of HIV-2 infection even in the absence of detectable viremia

Rita Tendeiro, Ana Sofia Fernandes, Russell B Foxall, José M Marcelino, Nuno Taveira, António P Baptista, Rita Cavaleiro, Perpétua Gomes, Rui M M Victorino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: Memory B-cell loss has long been recognized as an important contributor to HIV immunodeficiency. HIV-2 infection, which is characterized by a slow rate of progression to AIDS and reduced to undetectable viremia, provides a unique model to investigate B-cell disturbances.

DESIGN AND METHODS: B-cell subsets were evaluated in 38 HIV-2-infected individuals, along with markers of T-cell activation and serum levels of immunoglobulins and a major B-cell homeostatic cytokine, B-cell activating factor (BAFF). Untreated HIV-1-infected and seronegative control individuals were studied in parallel. Statistical analysis was performed using Mann-Whitney tests and Spearman's correlations.

RESULTS: We found that HIV-2 was associated with significant depletion of both unswitched (CD27(+)IgD(+)) and switched (CD27(+)IgD(neg)) memory B-cells that directly correlated with T-cell activation, even in individuals with undetectable plasma viral load. Nevertheless, the presence of detectable viremia, even at low levels, was associated with significant memory B-cell loss and higher BAFF levels. Moreover, these alterations were not recovered by antiretroviral-therapy, as treated HIV-2-infected patients showed more pronounced B-cell disturbances, possibly related to their extended length of infection.

CONCLUSION: These first data regarding B-cell imbalances during HIV-2 infection show that, irrespective of viremia, prolonged HIV infection leads to irreversible damage of memory B-cell homeostasis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1607-17
Number of pages11
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 24 Aug 2012


  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
  • Adult
  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • B-Cell Activating Factor
  • B-Lymphocyte Subsets
  • B-Lymphocytes
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • HIV Seronegativity
  • HIV Seropositivity
  • HIV-1
  • HIV-2
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Memory
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • RNA, Viral
  • Viral Load
  • Viremia
  • Comparative Study
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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