The Human Immune System
* In order to understand HIV, one must understand the human immune system. The first line of defense is a person’s skin, mucous membranes, and other secretions which prevent pathogens from ever entering your body. Pathogens are considered things your body does not want, for example bacteria and viruses.
* The second line of defense includes nonspecific mechanisms which attempt to contain the spread of pathogens throughout one’s body. The second line of defense relies heavily on the use of white blood cells, which ingest invading organisms. About 5% of white blood cells are made of monocytes, which develop into macrophages. The role of these macrophages is vital to the human immune system, as they are able to engulf pathogens without having to self destruct.
* The body’s third line of defense is a highly specific means of distinguishing “self” from “non-self” and destroying all “non-self”. All of one person’s cells are marked with a unique set of proteins which label them as “self”. Certain cells in the body are capable of recognizing every antigen (molecules belonging to viruses/bacteria) that may enter one’s body over a lifetime. These cells include macrophages, T-Cells, B Cells, and interior thymus cells. These cells rely on Helper T-Cells to alert them of antigens in the body, thus creating an immune response. Once recognized, Killer T-Cells actively destroy pathogens and even the body’s own cells if that have been invaded by a pathogen.
How HIV attacks the Body
* As commonly known, HIV cannot penetrate your immune systems first line of defense. You cannot contract HIV by breathing bad air or by holding the hand of somebody who is HIV positive. You have to wo...
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... lymphocytes. Phipps and Branch observed Fyn Kinase activity in patients with and without HIV. Those with HIV contained high Fyn Kinase activity and low levels of Fyn protein. They also found that Fyn Kinase activity increases within 30 minutes of infection of the CD4+ T cells. This new-found information revolutionized the way testing for HIV occurs.
Alkhatib, G. et al, "CC CKR5: A RANTES, MIP-alpha, MIP-1 beta Receptor as a Fusion Cofactor for macrophage-tropic HIV-1." Science 272, 1955 (1996).
Grimes, W., R. Hallick, M. Hewlett, J. Aronson, and B. Fishel. Biology 181 Laboratory Manual 2002. Hayden-McNeil Publishing, Inc.
Moore, J.P. "Co-receptors: Implications for HIV Pathogenesis and Therapy." Science 276, 51, 1997.
Purves, W., D. Sadava, G. Orians, and H. Heller. Life: The Science of Biology , Sixth Edition 2001. Sinauer Associates, Inc.
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