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Crit Rev Clin Lab Sci. 1992;29(3-4):307-41.

The role of neopterin as a monitor of cellular immune activation in transplantation, inflammatory, infectious, and malignant diseases.

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Institute for Medical Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Innsbruck, Austria.


The accumulated knowledge about the organization and function of the human immune system contributes to a better understanding of the pathogenesis of most diverse disorders and is opening new avenues for therapeutic regimens. To gain further insight into the complex interactions within the components of the immune system, it has become increasingly necessary to develop rapid and simple methods to monitor the status of the immune system in patients. The determination of neopterin concentrations in human body fluids allows to investigate sensitively the cell-mediated immune status to be investigated with considerable sensitivity. In recent years it was shown that production and release of neopterin is inducible in human monocytes/macrophages by interferon gamma. Increased neopterin levels indicate endogenous formation of gamma interferon, and monitoring of neopterin levels therefore permits the activation status of the cell-mediated immune system to be examined. Neopterin concentrations in serum and in urine increase in parallel to the clinical course of infections with viruses, intracellular bacteria, and parasites. In patients with human immunodeficiency virus infection neopterin concentration in serum and urine is a significant predictor of disease progression, the statistical power being similar to CD4+ T-cell numbers. In patients with autoimmune disorders, neopterin levels correlate with the extent and the activity of the disease. Neopterin concentrations are also sensitive indicators of immunological complications in allograft recipients. In certain malignant diseases neopterin concentrations correlate with the stage of the disease and bear prognostic information. Results of neopterin measurements agree with the important role that the cellular immune system plays in these disorders.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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