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Developmental Immunology
Volume 6, Issue 1-2, Pages 61-70

Enhanced Follicular Dendritic Cell-B Cell Interaction in HIV and SIV Infections and its Potential Role in Polyclonal B Cell Activation

1Therlmmune Inc., Rockville, Maryland 20852, USA
2Henry M. Jackson Foundation, Rockville, Maryland 20850, USA
3Glaxo Institute for Molecular Biology, Geneva, Switzerland

Received 2 September 1996; Accepted 30 May 1997

Copyright © 1998 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections have been characterized by both polyclonal Bcell activation and enhanced responsiveness to B-cell growth factors on one hand and the loss of specific antibody (Ab) responses and refractoriness to the normal signals for B-cell activation on the other. Histopathological studies of lymph node from HIV- and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-infected individuals have indicated initial follicular hyperplasia and the appearance of large irregular germinal centers that undergo progressive involution concomitant with follicular dendritic-cell (FDC) disruption. During this process, follicular dendritic-cell -enriched lymph-node-cell cultures exhibit increased ability to induce cluster formation (“in vitro germinal centers”), lymphocyte proliferation and antibody production compared to uninfected controls. This paper discusses how enhanced FDC-B-cell interaction within SIV-infected germinal centers may result in a reduced ability to select high-affinity B cells and alter the dynamics of antibodyproducing- cell and memory-cell generation resulting in the observed hyperactivity.