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J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2005 Dec 15;40(5):581-4.

Increased circulating interleukin-7 levels in HIV-1-infected women.

Author information

1
Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology, University of California at San Francisco, 94158, USA. lnapolitano@gladstone.ucsf.edu

Abstract

Sex-based differences in CD4 T-cell (CD4) counts are well recognized, but the basis for these differences has not been identified. Conceivably, homeostatic factors may play a role in this process by regulating T-cell maintenance and repletion. Interleukin (IL)-7 is essential for normal T-cell production and homeostasis. We hypothesized that differences in IL-7 might contribute to sex-based differences in CD4 counts. Circulating IL-7 levels were analyzed in 299 HIV-1-infected women and men. Regression analysis estimated that IL-7 levels were 40% higher in women than in men (P = 0.0032) after controlling for CD4 count, age, and race. Given the important role of IL-7 in T-cell development and homeostasis, these findings suggest that higher IL-7 levels may contribute to higher CD4 counts in women.

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