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Clin Exp Immunol. 1991 Apr;84(1):109-15.

Altered production of tumour necrosis factors alpha and beta and interferon gamma by HIV-infected individuals.

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Academic Department of Genito Urinary Medicine, University College, London, UK.


In vitro studies shows that recombinant tumour necrosis factor (TNF) alpha and beta, and interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) can enhance HIV replication, and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) infected with HIV in vitro secrete high levels of the same cytokines. As T cells secrete all three mediators, the capacity of T cell activation signals to trigger cytokine production in PBMC from HIV-infected individuals was investigated as such patients may be immunocompromised. We demonstrate that asymptomatic seropositives in CDC group II/III as well as patients who have progressed to CDC group IV of the disease proliferate efficiently to anti-CD3 antibody, recombinant interleukin-2 (rIL-2), phytohaemagglutinin (PHA), PHA plus phorbol 12,13 dibutyrate (PMA) but secrete significantly (P less than 0.05) higher amounts of TNF-alpha, TNF-beta and IFN-gamma compared with controls in response to the same stimulants. We also show a difference between group II/III and group IV patients with the latter secreting more TNF-alpha and IFN-gamma. The kinetics of TNF-alpha and -beta, and IFN-gamma production was stimulus dependent with overall levels varying in time for each stimulus. Furthermore, the kinetics of the response to all three stimulants were altered in seropositives; CDC group II/III and group IV patients secreted higher levels of cytokines over several time points compared to controls. The altered production of these mediators by HIV-infected patients may contribute to disease progression and to the pathogenesis of AIDS.

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