The frequency of immature transitional B cells is increased in blood of HIV-1-infected individuals. We investigated whether HIV-1 infection affects expression and function of chemokine receptors important for egress of immature transitional B cells from bone marrow and migration to lymphoid organs.Design:
This is a cross-sectional study analysing the migratory phenotype and function of immature transitional B cells in HIV-1-infected individuals, in relation to antiretroviral treatment and age.Methods:
Frequency of blood immature transitional B cells and their phenotypic characteristics, including chemokine receptors and a maturation marker, were determined by immunostainings. Migratory capacities were studied in a migration assay.Results:
The increased frequency of immature transitional B cells in untreated HIV-1 infection was normalized in patients receiving antiretroviral treatment; in our cohorts, age did not have an impact on the frequency of circulating immature transitional B cells. Immature transitional B cells from nontreated patients expressed low levels of CD21 molecule. We found an elevated frequency of CXCR3 and CXCR4 expressing immature transitional B cells in treated and nontreated patients. CXCR4 receptor was unresponsive to CXCL12 ligand in in-vitro migration and internalization assays. In addition, CXCR5 expression was downregulated on immature transitional B cells from infected patients, and these cells migrated poorly in response to CXCR5 ligand.Conclusion:
Circulating immature transitional B cells from HIV-1-infected patients are not fully mature, probably due to premature egress from bone marrow; these cells showed a phenotype which could impair entry into secondary lymphoid organs. Changes in migratory capacity of immature transitional B cells may affect B-cell maturation during HIV-1 infection.