A team of Harvard scientists has taken the first step to solve mystery about why HIV patients are more susceptible to TB infection.

According to USAID, 42 million people are HIV infected & almost one third of them are also TB infected. It is believed that HIV interferes with the cellular and molecular mechanisms used by the lungs to fight TB infection. The HIV replication cycle

This mystery has been solved when scientists extracted immune cells called “alveolar macrophages” from the lungs of asymptomatic HIV +ve patients as well as healthy patients ” HIV –ve.” They observed a decrease in response towards TB bacterium in HIV +ve patients when compared to HIV –ve patients.

A further examination of lung specimens showed an increased level of a molecule called IL-10, which elevates the amount of a protein called “BCL-3” in alveolar macrophages and this reduces their ability to ward off TB infection.

It seems that HIV increases severity of TB infection, where both represent two of the most significant health challenges in human history.

Source: Science Daily.

Image credits: The HIV replication cycle.

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