Treatment News : Why Women and Men Have Differences in Disease Progression

POZ - Health, Life and HIV
Subscribe to:
POZ magazine
E-newsletters
Join POZ: Facebook MySpace Twitter Pinterest
Tumblr Google+ Flickr MySpace
POZ Personals
Sign In / Join
Username:
Password:

Back to home » Treatment News » July 2009

Most Popular Links
Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle

Shingles

Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

15 Years Ago In POZ


More Treatment News

Click here for more news

Have news about HIV? Send press releases, news tips and other announcements to news@poz.com.


emailprint

July 14, 2009

Why Women and Men Have Differences in Disease Progression

A study, published July 13 online in Nature Medicine, has discovered why HIV-positive women have faster disease progression than HIV-positive men with the same viral loads. The answer may be greater levels of immune inflammation.

Though taken as a whole, women do not appear to have faster disease progression than men, it is well known that their viral loads and CD4 counts may differ from what is common in men. Women’s immune systems bring virus levels under better control than men’s systems soon after becoming infected with HIV. However, researchers have also discovered that when women and men with the same viral loads are compared, women generally progress faster. Until now, no one has proved why this is the case.

Angela Meier, MD, PhD, from the Ragon Institute, associated with Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), set out to solve this mystery. In the study, which is explained in more detail in an MGH press release, Meier’s team looked at immune cells in a cohort of HIV-positive men and women.

First, the team looked at a cell—called a dendritic cell—that is key in first detecting foreign pathogens. They found that women’s dendritic cells produced more of an immune-signaling protein called interferon alpha than men. Interferon alpha stimulates the production of CD8 cells. Though CD8 cells do help control the virus, they can lead to immune system burnout if they are chronically overstimulated.

The team next looked at whether the female sex hormone progesterone was linked to higher CD8 levels. Sure enough, postmenopausal women who produce extremely low levels of progesterone had roughly the same number of CD8 cells as men of a similar viral load level. Premenopausal women, however, with normal progesterone levels, had many more CD8 cells. The higher the level of progesterone, the greater the number of CD8 cells.

The researchers conclude that because the immune system seems is more inflamed in premenopausal women, and since chronic inflammation may hasten disease progression, this may explain the sex differences in disease progression at similar viral loads. Though further research is needed to confirm that differences in disease progression are linked to sex hormone–induced CD8 production, the authors conclude that their study results open a new avenue of research.

Search: Sex, CD8, interferon alpha, inflammation, immune stimulation, disease progression, women, Angela Meier


Scroll down to comment on this story.



Name:

(will display; 2-50 characters)

Email:

(will NOT display)

City:

(will display; optional)

Comment (500 characters left):

(Note: The POZ team reviews all comments before they are posted. Please do not include either ":" or "@" in your comment. The opinions expressed by people providing comments are theirs alone. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Smart + Strong, which is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by people providing comments.)

Comments require captcha.
Please enter this number for verification:

| Posting Rules



Hide comments

Previous Comments:


         


[Go to top]


Join POZ Facebook Twitter Google+ MySpace YouTube Tumblr Flickr
Quick Links
Current Issue

HIV Testing
Safer Sex
Find a Date
Newly Diagnosed
HIV 101
Disclosing Your Status
Starting Treatment
Help Paying for Meds
Search for the Cure
POZ Stories
POZ Opinion
POZ Exclusives
Read the Blogs
Visit the Forums
Job Listings
Events Calendar


    acousticmat
    Tucson
    Arizona


    soy_Ric
    Rochester
    New York


    Fred9774
    Brooklyn
    New York


    jap022964
    el dorado
    Arkansas
Click here to join POZ Personals!
Ask POZ Pharmacist

Talk to Us
Poll
Will decriminalizing injection drug use help end the global HIV epidemic?
Yes
No

Survey
PrEP Course

more surveys
Contact Us
We welcome your comments!
[ about Smart + Strong | about POZ | POZ advisory board | partner links | advertising policy | advertise/contact us | site map]
© 2014 Smart + Strong. All Rights Reserved. Terms of use and Your privacy.
Smart + Strong® is a registered trademark of CDM Publishing, LLC.