Autoimmune overload may damage HIV-infected brain | Science Blog:
Researchers studying the evolution of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the brain have found that the body's own defenses may cause HIV-related dementia.
Publishing in the Sept. 2005 issue of the Journal of Virology, the researchers show that HIV in the temporal lobe mutates at a rate 100 times faster than in other parts of the body, triggering white blood cells to continually swarm to attack the infection. The associated overcrowding and inflammation appear to cause the dementia.
Earlier studies had suggested that the build-up of white blood cells could lead to HIV-related dementia, but this is the first study to track the probable mechanism.
The findings could lead to new treatments that target HIV-infected white blood cells, perhaps one day countering the brain wasting that will affect as many as 15 percent of the nearly 40 million people around the world who are infected with the virus.
Evolution, saving lives.