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Clin Exp Immunol. 1994 Dec;98(3):369-74.

Increased soluble CD14 serum levels and altered CD14 expression of peripheral blood monocytes in HIV-infected patients.

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Department of Nephrology, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University, Frankfurt/Main, Germany.


Serum levels of soluble CD14 were elevated in HIV-infected asymptomatic patients or those with lymphadenopathy (CDC II/III) 2.9 +/- 0.8 mg/l compared with normal controls with 2.2 +/- 0.47 mg/l, P < 0.001. A further rise was seen in patients with ARC (CDC IVA) 3.8 +/- 1.1 mg/l, P < 0.01 and patients with AIDS (CDC IVB-D) 5.7 +/- 2.5 mg/l, P < 0.01. Although absolute numbers of CD14+ cells decrease in the AIDS group, the percentage of CD14+ monocytes did not change. In contrast, levels of soluble T cell antigens sCD4 and sCD8, which are higher in HIV-infected patients compared with normal subjects, showed no increase with disease progression. Serum levels of sCD14 were correlated positively with beta 2-microglobulin levels (rs = 0.63, P < 0.0001). Whereas the percentage of CD14+ monocytes did not change, an increase in monocytic CD14 expression in HIV-infected patients was observed (P < 0.01). The percentage of a monocyte subset expressing both CD14 and CD16 increased from 6% in normal healthy persons to 13% in HIV-infected patients (P < 0.001), and did not vary between the HIV patient groups. Incubation of cultured peripheral blood monocytes with azidothymidine had no effect on either normal or LPS-induced or IL-4-inhibited sCD14 release in vitro. Therefore, an effect of AZT on sCD14 serum values in vivo is considered to be unlikely. Our data further provide evidence that monocytes/macrophages are engaged in HIV infection.

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