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Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. Jul 1997; 4(4): 474–477.
PMCID: PMC170553

Immunological markers of disease progression in patients infected with the human immunodeficiency virus.

Abstract

Identification of inexpensive and technically simple immunological tests useful in predicting the progression to AIDS in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients would be especially welcome in developing countries, in which 80% of HIV-infected patients reside and health budgets are low. In the current study, we evaluated CD4+ and total lymphocyte counts and the concentrations in serum of beta 2-microglobulin, p24 antigen, and immunoglobulin A (IgA) as predictors of disease progression in 74 Panamanian HIV-positive patients and 50 HIV-negative healthy individuals. Total lymphocyte and CD4(+)-cell counts for AIDS patients (1,451 +/- 811 cells/microliters, P < 0.001, and 238 +/- 392 cells/microliters, P < 0.0001, respectively and asymptomatic patients (2,393 +/- 664 cells/microliters, P > 0.05, and 784 +/- 475 cells/microliters, P < 0.001, respectively) were lower than those observed for healthy subjects (2,596 +/- 631 cells/microliters and 1,120 +/- 296 cells/microliters, respectively). The levels of beta 2-microglobulin and IgA in serum were significantly elevated in patients with AIDS (5.7 +/- 3.6mg/liter, P < 0.001, and 541 +/- 265 mg/dl, P < 0.0002, respectively) and asymptomatic infected subjects (3.4 +/- 2.1 mg/liter, P = 0.001, and 436 +/- 216 mg/dl, P < 0.0001, respectively) compared with the levels in healthy subjects (2.2 +/- 0.7 mg/liter and 204 +/- 113 mg/dl, respectively). Nonstatistically significant differences (P > 0.05) for concentrations of p24 antigen between asymptomatic infected patients (29 +/- 13 pg/ml) and AIDS patients (40 +/- 23 pg/ml) were observed. Total lymphocyte counts of 1,750 cells/microliters or less, CD4 counts of 200 cells/microliters or less, beta 2-microglobulin concentrations in serum of 4 mg/liter or higher, concentrations of IgA in serum of 450 mg/dl or higher, and the presence in serum of p24 antigen were correlated with elevated risks for developing AIDS. Monitoring both total lymphocytes and beta 2-microglobulin identified 91% of the AIDS patients; these assays may allow reductions in the annual number of CD4(+)-cell evaluations and the costs associated with monitoring both total lymphocytes and beta 2-microglobulin identified 91% of the AIDS patients; these assays may allow reductions in the annual number of CD4(+)-cell evaluations and the costs associated with monitoring the immune status of HIV-positive patients.

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Selected References

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