Insights into B cells and HIV-specific B-cell responses in HIV-infected individuals

Immunol Rev. 2013 Jul;254(1):207-24. doi: 10.1111/imr.12067.


Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease is associated with dysregulation and dysfunction involving all major lymphocyte populations, including B cells. Such perturbations occur early in the course of infection and are driven in large part by immune activation resulting from ongoing HIV replication leading to bystander effects on B cells. While most of the knowledge regarding immune cell abnormalities in HIV-infected individuals has been gained from studies conducted on the peripheral blood, it is clear that the virus is most active and most damaging in lymphoid tissues. Here, we discuss B-cell perturbations in HIV-infected individuals, focusing on the skewing of B-cell subsets that circulate in the peripheral blood and their counterparts that reside in lymphoid tissues. This review also highlights recent advances in evaluating HIV-specific B-cell responses both in the memory B-cell compartment, as well as in circulating antibody-secreting plasmablasts and the more differentiated plasma cells residing in tissues. Finally, we consider how knowledge gained by investigating B cells in HIV-infected individuals may help inform the development of an effective antibody-based HIV vaccine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • B-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte
  • HIV / immunology*
  • HIV Infections / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Lymphoid Tissue / immunology
  • Viremia / immunology


  • Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte