Francesca Chiodi Group

Mechanism of B and T cell death during HIV infection

The work of our group aims at understanding the mechanisms of cell damage during HIV infection. Several cell types are damaged during the infection, through the direct effect of the virus and through indirect mechanisms of damage. In fact B lymphocytes which are not the direct targets for the infection, are severely impaired in number and function during HIV infection. The mechanisms underlying such dysfunctions are poorly understood but other mechanisms in addition to direct virus replication account for deletion of immune cells including T and B cells.

We and other groups have shown that T and B cells from infected subjects are primed for apoptosis. The expression of Fas and FasL (pivotal molecules in the regulation of apoptosis) is increased, indicating that this receptor-ligand pair may play a crucial role for loss of immune cells. One crucial question is the characterization of the molecular pathway leading to up-regulation of Fas and FasL during HIV infection. The expression of these molecules is increased on B and T cells in blood from the early stages of infection, already at the time of primary infection.

We found that memory B cells are lost in infected patients, likely due to terminal differentiation of memory B cells to plasma cells. The effector function of B cells is also impaired during HIV infection in that we found a decline of antibodies to previously met antigens either during childhood or through vaccination. Also, a limited amount of neutralizing antibodies, aimed at controlling virus infection, is produced in HIV infected subjects who progress to AIDS.

We believe that the understanding of the mechanisms leading to cell damage during AIDS may be important to design future anti-HIV therapies and vaccines. Studies which we conduct on additional groups of immunocompromised patients may help to through light on the mechanism of T and B cell depletion during HIV infection.

Project Groups within the Francesca Chiodi

Maria Issagouliantis

Britta Wahren

Visiting address:
Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology
C Building, rooms C467, C468, 4th floor
Nobels väg 16, Stockholm
Mailing address:
Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology
Karolinska Institute
Nobels väg 16
S 17177 Stockholm


Impaired B cells survival upon production of inflammatory cytokines by HIV-1 exposed follicular dendritic cells.
Sabri F, Prados A, Muñoz-Fernández R, Lantto R, Fernandez-Rubio P, Nasi A, et al
Retrovirology 2016 Sep;13(1):61

Pneumococcal vaccination of HIV-infected young adults is an important global priority.
Chiodi F
AIDS 2016 Jul;30(12):1991-3

Dysfunctional phenotypes of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells are comparable in patients initiating ART during early or chronic HIV-1 infection.
Amu S, Lantto Graham R, Bekele Y, Nasi A, Bengtsson C, Rethi B, et al
Medicine (Baltimore) 2016 Jun;95(23):e3738

Increased extrafollicular expression of the B-cell stimulatory molecule CD70 in HIV-1-infected individuals.
Lantto R, Nasi A, Sammicheli S, Amu S, Fievez V, Moutschen M, et al
AIDS 2015 Sep;29(14):1757-66

Impaired Phenotype and Function of T Follicular Helper Cells in HIV-1-Infected Children Receiving ART.
Bekele Y, Amu S, Bobosha K, Lantto R, Nilsson A, Endale B, et al
Medicine (Baltimore) 2015 Jul;94(27):e1125

Frequency and phenotype of B cell subpopulations in young and aged HIV-1 infected patients receiving ART.
Amu S, Lavy-Shahaf G, Cagigi A, Hejdeman B, Nozza S, Lopalco L, et al
Retrovirology 2014 Sep;11():76

B-cell responses after intranasal vaccination with the novel attenuated Bordetella pertussis vaccine strain BPZE1 in a randomized phase I clinical trial.
Jahnmatz M, Amu S, Ljungman M, Wehlin L, Chiodi F, Mielcarek N, et al
Vaccine 2014 Jun;32(27):3350-6

Combined efforts in immunology and vaccinology will lead to effective vaccines against HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.
Chiodi F, Kaufmann S
J. Intern. Med. 2014 May;275(5):442-3

Human immunodeficiency virus antibodies and the vaccine problem.
Chiodi F, Weiss R
J. Intern. Med. 2014 May;275(5):444-55

Toll-like receptor 3 signalling up-regulates expression of the HIV co-receptor G-protein coupled receptor 15 on human CD4+ T cells.
Kiene M, Rethi B, Jansson M, Dillon S, Lee E, Lantto R, et al
PLoS ONE 2014 ;9(2):e88195

Impairment of B-cell functions during HIV-1 infection.
Amu S, Ruffin N, Rethi B, Chiodi F
AIDS 2013 Sep;27(15):2323-34

Relation of activation-induced deaminase (AID) expression with antibody response to A(H1N1)pdm09 vaccination in HIV-1 infected patients.
Cagigi A, Pensieroso S, Ruffin N, Sammicheli S, Thorstensson R, Pan-Hammarström Q, et al
Vaccine 2013 Apr;31(18):2231-7

B-cell subset alterations and correlated factors in HIV-1 infection.
Pensieroso S, Galli L, Nozza S, Ruffin N, Castagna A, Tambussi G, et al
AIDS 2013 May;27(8):1209-17

Concerted effect of lymphopenia, viraemia and T-cell activation on Fas expression of peripheral B cells in HIV-1-infected patients.
Rethi B, Sammicheli S, Amu S, Pensieroso S, Hejdeman B, Schepis D, et al
AIDS 2013 Jan;27(2):155-62

The role of the alternative coreceptor GPR15 in SIV tropism for human cells.
Kiene M, Marzi A, Urbanczyk A, Bertram S, Fisch T, Nehlmeier I, et al
Virology 2012 Nov;433(1):73-84

Reduction of HIV-1 load in semen during follow-up study of RV144 vaccine trial boosts interest for novel correlates of immune protection in genital mucosa.
Spetz A, Chiodi F
J. Infect. Dis. 2013 Apr;207(8):1189-92

Immune activation and increased IL-21R expression are associated with the loss of memory B cells during HIV-1 infection.
Ruffin N, Lantto R, Pensieroso S, Sammicheli S, Hejdeman B, Rethi B, et al
J. Intern. Med. 2012 Nov;272(5):492-503

Soluble CD27 induces IgG production through activation of antigen-primed B cells.
Dang L, Nilsson A, Ingelman-Sundberg H, Cagigi A, Gelinck L, Titanji K, et al
J. Intern. Med. 2012 Mar;271(3):282-93

IL-7 modulates B cells survival and activation by inducing BAFF and CD70 expression in T cells.
Sammicheli S, Ruffin N, Lantto R, Vivar N, Chiodi F, Rethi B
J. Autoimmun. 2012 Jun;38(4):304-14

Short communication: phylogenetic characterization of HIV type 1 CRF01_AE V3 envelope sequences in pregnant women in Northern Vietnam.
Caridha R, Ha T, Gaseitsiwe S, Hung P, Anh N, Bao N, et al
AIDS Res. Hum. Retroviruses 2012 Aug;28(8):852-6

Towards a world free from HIV and AIDS?
Albert J, Chiodi F
J. Intern. Med. 2011 Dec;270(6):502-8

Survival and proliferation of CD28- T cells during HIV-1 infection relate to the amplitude of viral replication.
Vivar N, Ruffin N, Sammicheli S, Hejdeman B, Rethi B, Chiodi F
J. Infect. Dis. 2011 Jun;203(11):1658-67

The involvement of epithelial Fas in a human model of graft versus host disease.
Ruffin N, Ahmed S, Osorio L, Wang X, Jackson G, Collin M, et al
Transplantation 2011 May;91(9):946-51

Role of Fas/FasL in regulation of inflammation in vaginal tissue during HSV-2 infection.
Krzyzowska M, Shestakov A, Eriksson K, Chiodi F
Cell Death Dis 2011 Mar;2():e132

The involvement of epithelial Fas in a human model of graft versus host disease.
Ruffin N, Ahmed S, Osorio L, Wang X, Jackson G, Collin M, et al
Transplantation 2011 May;91(9):946-51

Measles outbreak in Africa--is there a link to the HIV-1 epidemic?
Nilsson A, Chiodi F
PLoS Pathog. 2011 Feb;7(2):e1001241

New therapy to revert dysfunctional antibody responses during HIV-1 infection.
Chiodi F
J. Clin. Invest. 2010 Nov;120(11):3810-3

The role of IL-1beta in reduced IL-7 production by stromal and epithelial cells: a model for impaired T-cell numbers in the gut during HIV-1 infection.
Thang P, Ruffin N, Brodin D, Rethi B, Cam P, Hien N, et al
J. Intern. Med. 2010 Aug;268(2):181-93

Dysfunctional B-cell responses during HIV-1 infection: implication for influenza vaccination and highly active antiretroviral therapy.
Cagigi A, Nilsson A, Pensieroso S, Chiodi F
Lancet Infect Dis 2010 Jul;10(7):499-503

The impact of active HIV-1 replication on the physiological age-related decline of immature-transitional B-cells in HIV-1 infected children.
Cagigi A, Palma P, Nilsson A, Di Cesare S, Pensieroso S, Kakoulidou M, et al
AIDS 2010 Aug;24(13):2075-80

Impact of gamma-chain cytokines on T cell homeostasis in HIV-1 infection: therapeutic implications.
Gougeon M, Chiodi F
J. Intern. Med. 2010 May;267(5):502-14


Older Publications




Group members


Francesca Chiodi

Phone: 852486315
Organizational unit: Francesca Chiodi group

Biomedical scientist

Carina Bengtsson

Phone: +46-(0)8-524 862 89
Organizational unit: Administration

PhD student

Yonas Bekele

Organizational unit: Francesca Chiodi group

PhD student

Rebecka Lantto

Organizational unit: Francesca Chiodi group

PhD student

Aikaterini Nasi

Organizational unit: Francesca Chiodi group


ilia gordeichuk

Organizational unit: Francesca Chiodi group

PhD student

Mahlet Lemma

Phone: +46-(0)8-524 867 75
Organizational unit: Francesca Chiodi group



Former Group Members



Sven Grützmeier, Ander Karlsson and Bo Heideman
The Gay Men's Health Clinic, South Hospital, Stockholm and Ann Atlas. Department of Medicine at Solna, Infectious Disease Unit. Clinical collaborator on several studies These doctors scientists are colloborating with us on issues of immunological relevance for AIDS.