Scavenger Cells Could Be Key To Treating HIV-Related Dementia

Bacteria-eating cells that generally fight infection may cause dementia in HIV patients, University of Florida and University of California at San Francisco researchers have found. Macrophages, long-living white blood cells often considered the scavengers of the immune system, actually may damage a part of the brain where many memories are stored in their attempt to attack the virus there, according to findings reported in the Journal of Virology this month. Researchers found that HIV-infected macrophages in the brain continuously travel to the temporal lobe, a part of the brain Alzheimer's disease often damages. Because the virus mutates nearly 100 times faster in the temporal lobe than other parts of the brain, attacking macrophages migrate there in a constant stream, causing harmful inflammation.

Back to news