HIV infection leads to progressive destruction of infected CD4 T cells, hypergammaglobulinemia, and loss of memory B cells. Germinal centers, which are key to memory B cell formation and protective antibody responses, are major HIV reservoirs in which the virus replicates within T follicular helper (TFH) cells. In this issue of the JCI, the Koup and Streeck groups report that chronic SIV/HIV infection promotes TFH cell accumulation, which may drive B cell dysregulation. Their discoveries suggest that HIV harnesses TFH cells to evade the antibody response.
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