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White blood cell links AIDS, Salmonella

March 26, 2008 at 3:19 PM   |   Comments

DAVIS, Calif., March 26 (UPI) -- The rise in deaths from Salmonella in African AIDS patients has led U.S. researchers to link both illnesses to Th17 -- a white blood cell.

The findings, published online in Nature Medicine, may help scientists not only find treatments for HIV and the deadly form of Salmonella, but may also provide a new biomarker -- Th17 -- to measure the efficacy of vaccines and other therapies.

Researchers found depletion the white blood cell Th-17 in the lining of the intestine not only allows foodborne bacteria to enter the bloodstream, but may also provide a safe-haven where the human immunodeficiency virus can evade drug treatment.

University of California, Davis School of Medicine researchers Andreas Baumler and Satya Dandekar developed a technique that allowed them to study early intestinal responses to Salmonella infection in rhesus macaques infected with simian immunodeficiency virus -- an established model for HIV infection.

"We found that animals that had no simian immunodeficiency virus infection were able to generate immediate responses to bacterial exposure, producing Th17 cells in large amounts," Dandekar said in a statement.

The researchers said they believe Th-17 deficiency causes defects in the mucosal barrier of the gut.

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