Researchers at the Buck Institute for Aging and Stanford University have found that chronic viral infections such as HIV or hepatitis C affect the body in the same way as aging.
To understand how chronic viruses affect the body, the authors of a new study compared the immune responses of older people and people with HIV or hepatitis C receiving long-term antiviral therapy.
As a result, it turned out that, despite the effectiveness of antiviral drugs, even after a complete cure, the authors recorded general changes in the immune system characteristic of aging people in patients – an increase in memory T cells, activation of intracellular signaling pathways of inflammation and a decrease in sensitivity to cytokines in lymphocytes. and myeloid cells.
The body is strongly influenced by:
- hepatitis C,
- herpes viruses,
- cytomegalovirus infection.
Chronic inflammation caused by dysfunction of the immune system is associated with many diseases of aging and viral infections. At the moment, it is clear that both aging and chronic viral infections leave a deep and indelible mark on the immune system.
David Furman, first author of the article
The authors note that further research is needed to determine if the immune system’s functional response is programmed only to the chronic nature of specific infections, or if our body also suffers from temporary but severe diseases such as COVID-19.