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Clin Exp Immunol. 1999 Apr;116(1):115-20.

IL-10 in HIV infection: increasing serum IL-10 levels with disease progression--down-regulatory effect of potent anti-retroviral therapy.

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Section of Clinical Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Medical Department A, Rikshospitalet, Oslo, Norway.


To examine the potential pathogenic role of IL-10 in HIV infection, we measured serum IL-10 levels in 51 HIV-infected patients and 23 healthy controls both on cross-sectional and longitudinal testing. All clinical groups (Centers for Disease Control (CDC) categories) of HIV-infected patients had significantly higher circulating IL-10 levels than controls, with the highest levels among the AIDS patients, particularly in patients with ongoing Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) infection. Among 32 HIV-infected patients followed with longitudinal testing (median observation time 39 months), patients with disease progression had increasing IL-10 levels in serum, in contrast to non-progressing patients where levels were stable. While both IL-10 and tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) increased in patients with disease progression, the IL-10/TNF-alpha ratio decreased in these patients, suggesting imbalance between these two cytokines. Finally, we found that highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART) induced a significant, gradual decrease in IL-10 levels but without normalization. These findings suggest a pathogenic role for IL-10 in HIV infection, and may suggest a possible role for immunomodulating therapy which down-regulates IL-10 activity in addition to concomitant potent anti-retroviral therapy in HIV-infected patients.

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