Inhibition of normal B-cell function by human immunodeficiency virus envelope glycoprotein, gp120

N. Chirmule, N. Oyaizu, V. S. Kalyanaraman, S. Pahwa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Despite the occurrence of hypergammaglobulinemia in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, specific antibody production and in vitro B-cell differentiation responses are frequently impaired. In this study, we have examined the effects of HIV envelope glycoprotein gp120 on T-helper cell function for B cells. In the culture system used, B-cell functional responses were dependent on T-B-cell contact, since separation of T and B cells in double chambers by Transwell membranes rendered the B cells unresponsive in assays of antigen-induced B-cell proliferation and differentiation. Cytokines secreted by T cells were also essential, since anti-CD3 monoclonal antibody (mAb)-activated, paraformal-dehyde-fixed T-cell clones failed to induce B-cell proliferation and differentiation. Pretreatment of the CD4+ antigen-specific T cells with gp120 was found to impair their ability to help autologous B cells, as determined by B-cell proliferation, polyclonal IgG secretion, and antigen-specific IgG secretion. The gp120-induced inhibition was specific in that it was blocked by soluble CD4. Furthermore, only fractionated small B cells (which are T-cell-dependent in their function) manifested impaired responses when cultured with gp120-treated T cells. Antigen-induced interleukin (IL)-2 and IL-4, but not IL-6, secretion were markedly reduced in gp120-treated T-cell clones. Addition of exogenous cytokines failed to compensate for defective helper function of gp120-treated T cells. The findings in this study indicate that gp120 impairs helper functions of CD4+ T cells by interfering with T-B-cell contact-dependent interaction; the inhibitory effects of soluble envelope proteins of HIV may contribute to the immunopathogenesis of the HIV-associated disease manifestations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1245-1254
Number of pages10
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology


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