Maladaptive Responses to Immune Disorders


Immune responses play an important role in preventing the body from damage, which might be caused by both internal and external factors (Huether & McCcance, 2012). Maladaptive responses are biological mechanisms that are aimed at compensating effects of body damage. However, the responses might cause further damage to the body, some of which might be life threatening. For example, it has been shown that many patients who develop allergy to some substances, such as honey or beef, might be characterized by maladaptive responses that cause many physiological malfunctions (Huether & McCcance, 2012). This paper aims at discussing the pathophysiology and maladaptive responses of HIV and lupus, explaining how they differ. It also explains how behavior can impact the pathophysiology of the two disorders.

Criteria 1: Explanation about the pathophysiology of HIV and SLE

The pathophysiology of HIV

HIV results in the development of AIDS in human beings, which adversely affects the body and may cause death within a span of a few years based on the status of the immune system of a patient. HIV targets and enters into CD positive cells that are crucial in defending the body against pathogens (Chinen & Shearer, 2002; Huether & McCcance, 2012). There is a consensus among virologists that the pathophysiology of HIV/AIDS is characterized by a high level of complexity, which is the main reason for the delay in developing a vaccine and treatment regimens for the disease. HIV causes harmful body effects by depleting CD4 positive T cells. The infected CD4 cells are killed by CD8 cells that are activated by the immune system to get rid of the infected cells. After T cells are depleted to significant levels, the immune system is compromised and it cannot fight away a myriad of opportunistic diseases (Huether & McCcance, 2012). However, the body may activate a cascade of events that lead to the production of CD8 T cells that destroy viruses that are hidden in the T helper cells. The pathophysiology of HIV can be divided into two stages.

These are acute and chronic stages that are characterized by different levels of invasion of CD4 cells by HIV. For example, during the acute stage, a significant number of CD4 cells are killed by cytotoxic T cells. However, programmed cell death may also play an important role in this process of cell death (Chinen & Shearer, 2002). During the chronic stage, the immune system does not have the ability to produce new T cells and it does not yield an adequate number of CD8 cells to destroy HIV-infected cells. Maladaptive responses to immune disorders with regard to HIV occur when apoptotic events lead to destruction of both healthy and infected cells (Chinen & Shearer, 2002; Sherwood, 2011). As a result, the immune system is compromised and it cannot control opportunistic infections, which lead to further complications in HIV patients. In fact, compensatory mechanisms are geared toward replacing the number of killed or HIV-infected T cells (Huether & McCcance, 2012).

The pathophysiology of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus)

Lupus is a disease that is characterized by autoimmunity that destroys cells of the body. More specifically, the pathophysiology of SLE results in the destruction of the connective tissue that is important in linking organs. The disease mostly affects the following parts of the body:

  • The heart
  • Joints
  • Kidneys
  • Skin
  • Blood vessels
  • Liver

There is a consensus among scientists that lupus is initiated by factors that are environmental-based, but which are not well understood. The environmental stimuli cause destruction of cells, exposing their components such as DNA and cell proteins. B-lymphocytes are sensitized to secrete antibodies that are aimed at destroying nuclear-related components (Sherwood, 2011). Antibody-antigen complexes surround and damage blood vessels in diverse organs of the body. Compensatory events are initiated to replace the number of destroyed cells (Huether & McCcance, 2012). However, maladaptive responses characterize the disease. They are the following:

  • Increased rate of cell killing
  • Fas is highly expressed on the surface of B and T cells
  • Increased necrosis with regard to T lymphocytes

Criteria 2: How the pathophysiology and maladaptive responses of HIV and SLE differ

HIV/AIDS is characterized by two stages that have different effects and symptoms. On the other hand, SLE does not have phases. Patients suffering from AIDS have diminished levels of T cells while patients presenting with SLE have normal levels of T cells. However, B cells are involved in responding to autoimmunity. While a virus initiates the pathophysiology of HIV/AIDS, the pathophysiology of SLE is caused by programmed cell death. It is important to note that maladaptive responses in HIV/AIDS lead to the excessive killing of body cells. On the other hand, immune responses in patients suffering from lupus results in reduced ability of the body to destroy immune responses that harm the body (Huether & McCcance, 2012).

Criteria 3: How behavior might impact the pathophysiology of SLE and HIV/AIDS

Behavioral factor plays a critical role in HIV/AIDS. Unprotected sex behavior increases the chances of contracting the virus. Positive behavior and attitude are important in ensuring that HIV patients live a normal life, which could imply the correct use of drugs and adoption of healthy dietary approaches. With regard to SLE, behavior is essential in helping patients to live longer (Huether & McCcance, 2012). Positive attitudes would encompass patients adopting strict medication schedules and avoiding prolonged exposures to sunlight.


It is apparent that maladaptive responses in the body can lead to undesired effects. The pathophysiology and maladaptive responses of HIV and SLE are different, but their modes of presentation could also differ among different patients. Behavioral factor can affect the pathophysiology of HIV and SLE.


Chinen, J., & Shearer, W. T. (2002). Molecular virology and immunology of HIV infection. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 110(2), 189-198. Web.

Huether, S. E., & McCcance, K. L. (2012). Understanding pathophysiology (Laureate custom ed.). St. Louis, MO: Mosby. Web.

Sherwood, L. (2011). Human physiology: from cells to systems. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning. Web.