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Improve energy metabolism in HIV-infected patients as a therapeutic route

Class in: Sant
Topics : Surveys, Opinions and Research, Clinical Trials / Medical Findings, CPG

MONTRAL et LAVAL, the 14 oct. 2021 / CNW Telbec / – The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) particularly attacks CD4 lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell considered to be the conductor of the immune system. Hamza Lucif, doctoral student in virology and immunology, and Julien van Grevenynghe, professor at the National Scientific Research Institute (INRS), have shown that by optimizing the energy metabolism of these key cells, people with HIV-1 can better defend against the virus. Indeed, with better metabolism, the role of these white blood cells in protecting against the virus, and therefore in improving the response of the immune system, becomes more important.

An action combines

This metabolic optimization exploits the process of cell recycling, called autophagy. And it would have a double positive effect ?! Autophagy in CD4 cells provides amino acids, including glutamine, to fuel the mitochondria, which serves as the powerhouse for cells. This energy is then used to scan for the protein interleukin-21 (IL-21) which plays a key role in the defense against HIV-1.

Researchers have shown, in a previous study, that IL-21 helps to? Educate? the immune system of patients with HIV. In fact, the protein optimizes the energy supply of immune cell CD8 lymphocytes and, by the same token, their defense system.

A promising path

It is important that a single treatment works positively on the entire immune system, not just on a subpopulation of cells. Since the latter help and communicate with each other, the beneficial effect of autophagy for different cell populations supports the importance of this pathway from a therapeutic point of view ?, underlines Professor van Grevenynghe.

Our results corroborate and consolidate the therapeutic utility of autophagy against HIV-1 and, potentially, other viral infections. This molecular mechanism has the potential to orchestrate an effective antiviral response by providing various energetic substances to fuel mitochondrial metabolism, ”reports Hamza Lucif.

The majority of people infected with HIV-1 need to take antiretroviral therapy daily, which does not fully restore their immune system to function. Acting on the metabolic path could potentially provide natural protection against the virus.

About the study

L’article ?Autophagy-dependent glutaminolysis drives superior IL21 production in HIV-1-specific CD4 T cells?, par Hamza Lucif, Xavier Dagenais-Lussier, Daina Avizonis, Luc Choinire, Cherifa Beji, Lna Cassin, Jean-Pierre Routy, Jrg H. Fritz, David Olagnier and Julien van Grevenynghe, was published on October 6, 2021 in the journal Autophagy. Professor van Grevenynghe underlines the contribution of the Armand-Frappier Foundation to this research, in particular for the purchase of the Agilent SeahorseXFe96 Analyzer platform which allows the analysis of the metabolic flow of living cells in real time. The study also received financial support fromAdvice from research in natural sciences and engineering Canada(CRSNG) and the Qubec – Sant Research Fund (FRQS).

About INRS

INRS is a university establishment dedicated exclusively to research and training for graduate studies. Since its creation in 1969, it has actively contributed to the economic, social and cultural development of Qubec. INRS is 1is in Qubec and Canada in intensive research. It is made up of four interdisciplinary research and training centers, located in Qubec, Montral, Laval and Varennes, which concentrate their activities in strategic sectors: Water Earth Environment, Energy Materials Telecommunications, Urbanization Culture Socit and Armand-Frappier Sant Biotechnologie. Its community has over 1,500 student, postdoctoral fellows, faculty and staff members.

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SOURCE National Institute for Scientific Research (INRS)

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