The gastrointestinal tract's immune system is often referred to as gut-associated lymphoid tissue (or GALT) and works to protect the body from invasion. The GALT is an example of mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue.
The digestive tract is an important component of the body's immune system. In fact, the intestine possesses the largest mass of lymphoid tissue in the human body. The GALT is made up of several types of lymphoid tissue that store immune cells, such as T and B lymphocytes, that carry out attacks and defend against pathogens.
New research indicates that GALT may continue to be a major site of HIV activity, even if drug treatment has reduced HIV count in the peripheral blood.
^Moraima Guadalupe,1 Sumathi Sankaran,1 Michael D. George,1 Elizabeth Reay,1 David Verhoeven,1 Barbara L. Shacklett,1 Jason Flamm,4 Jacob Wegelin,3 Thomas Prindiville,2 and Satya Dandekar. Viral Suppression and Immune Restoration in the Gastrointestinal Mucosa of HIV Type 1-Infected Patients Initiating Therapy during Primary or Chronic Infection Journal of Virology, August 2006, p. 8236-8247, Vol. 80, No. 16
^Anton PA, Mitsuyasu RT, Deeks SG, Scadden DT, Wagner B, Huang C, Macken C, Richman DD, Christopherson C, Borellini F, Lazar R, Hege KM. Multiple measures of HIV burden in blood and tissue are correlated with each other but not with clinical parameters in aviremic subjects. AIDS. 2003 Jan 3;17(1):53-63.