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Clin Exp Immunol. 2000 Apr;120(1):107-12.

Impact of highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART) on cytokine production and monocyte subsets in HIV-infected patients.

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Unité des Rickettsies, CNRS UPRESA 6020, Faculté de Médecine, France.


HIV infection is associated with cytokine production by monocytes and expansion of a monocyte subset that expresses high levels of CD16. Our study was designed to investigate the effects of anti-retroviral therapies on these immune parameters. Four groups of HIV+ patients were included in the study. The first group comprised drug-naive patients (n = 20); the second included patients who received two inhibitors of HIV reverse transcriptase (n = 45); the third group received a therapy combining these two inhibitors and one inhibitor of HIV protease (HAART) (n = 35); the fourth consisted of patients who had stopped their treatment (n = 20). The release of inflammatory cytokines (tumour necrosis factor, IL-1beta, IL-6) and immunoregulatory cytokines such as IL-10 by monocytes was determined by ELISA. The monocyte subsets expressing low or high levels of CD16 were studied by flow cytometry. Monocytes from patients naive of treatment released higher amounts of inflammatory cytokines and IL-10 than HIV- individuals. Each anti-retroviral therapy restored a normal pattern of cytokine secretion. Nevertheless, the release of cytokines increased again after the arrest of the treatment. The expansion of the monocyte subset that expresses high levels of CD16 was significantly decreased by HAART but not by the treatment including two inhibitors of reverse transcriptase. These results suggest that only HAART controls monocyte activation in the treatment of HIV infection.

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