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Aaron Diamond research team reinterprets immunity data
Though alpha-defensins aren’t produced by immune system T cells, they still have activity against HIV
After learning that part of their interpretation of data from a September 2002 publication is inaccurate, David Ho, Linqi Zhang and their colleagues at The Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center have published a “Retraction of Interpretation.”
“In our follow-up studies on the blood of long-term non-progressors of HIV, we learned that alpha-defensins are not produced by CD8 T cells, as we originally concluded,” says Ho. “We feel this retraction of interpretation is the right thing, the honorable thing, to do in this situation,” says Ho. The retraction was published in the January 23, 2004 issue of Science.
The specialized CD8 T cells collected over the years from these patients are not the source of anti-viral alpha-defensins 1,2 and 3, as Ho and colleagues proposed in the original Science 2002 publication. Instead, the “feeder” cells used to experimentally stimulate these blood samples are the true source of the alpha-defensins.
“There were many findings in our original publication and two main conclusions,” says Ho. “One of those conclusions has been reinterpreted; the other conclusion, that alpha-defensins are active against HIV, is true.”
Ho, Zhang and their colleagues were the first to report alpha-defensins’ anti-viral capabilities against HIV. Other scientific teams have subsequently reported the same results about the anti-HIV properties of alpha-defensins.
“We will continue to publish our research on alpha-defensins,” says Ho. “Their mechanism of anti-viral activity is worthy of pursuit.”

January 30, 2004



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