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J Infect Dis. 2001 Jan 1;183(1):51-8. Epub 2000 Nov 21.

Interleukin-12 counterbalances the deleterious effect of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 envelope glycoprotein gp120 on the immune response to Cryptococcus neoformans.

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Microbiology Section, Department of Experimental Medicine and Biochemical Science, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy.


The mechanism involved in the envelope glycoprotein gp120-induced Th2 response to Cryptococcus neoformans was investigated. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from healthy donors were treated with human immunodeficiency virus gp120 and an encapsulated or acapsular strain of C. neoformans in the presence or absence of glucuronoxylomannan, the major capsular polysaccharide. gp120 inhibited early and late production of interleukin (IL)-12 by PBMC. This reduction paralleled IL-10 induction and inhibited translocation of CD40 to the surface of monocytes. Flow cytometric analysis revealed that gp120 down-regulated the expression of IL-12 receptor beta2 subunit on T cells responding to C. neoformans. Because the IL-12/IL-12 receptor beta2 subunit pathway is critical for the Th1 differentiation process, underexpression demonstrates that gp120 contributes to Th2 bias. Exogenous IL-12 added simultaneously with gp120 up-regulated interferon-gamma secretion and limited IL-4 production. These results suggest that gp120 limits the Th1 response to C. neoformans and that exogenous IL-12 could offset this effect.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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