Metabolic phenotype of B cells from young and elderly HIV individuals

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Background: HIV infection induces inflammaging and chronic immune activation (IA), which are negatively associated with protective humoral immunity. Similar to HIV, aging is also associated with increased inflammaging and IA. The metabolic requirements of B cell responses in HIV infected (HIV+) individuals are not known, although metabolic abnormalities have been reported in these individuals. How these metabolic abnormalities are exacerbated by aging is also not known. Methods: B cells were isolated by magnetic sorting from the blood of young and elderly HIV + individuals, as well as from the blood of age-matched healthy controls. We evaluated the composition of the B cell pool by flow cytometry, the expression of RNA for pro-inflammatory and metabolic markers by qPCR and their metabolic status using a Seahorse XFp extracellular flux analyzer. Results: In this study we have evaluated for the first time the metabolic phenotype of B cells from young and elderly HIV + individuals as compared to those obtained from age-matched healthy controls. Results show that the B cell pool of HIV + individuals is enriched in pro-inflammatory B cell subsets, expresses higher levels of RNA for pro-inflammatory markers and is hyper-metabolic, as compared to healthy controls, and more in elderly versus young HIV + individuals, suggesting that this higher metabolic phenotype of B cells is needed to support B cell IA. We have identified the subset of Double Negative (DN) B cells as the subset mainly responsible for this hyper-inflammatory and hyper-metabolic profile. Conclusions: Our results identify a relationship between intrinsic B cell inflammation and metabolism in HIV + individuals and suggest that metabolic pathways in B cells from HIV + individuals may be targeted to reduce inflammaging and IA and improve B cell function and antibody responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number35
JournalImmunity and Ageing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Aging
  • B cells
  • HIV
  • Inflammation
  • Metabolism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Aging


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