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J Immunol. 1995 Mar 1;154(5):2448-59.

HIV replication in IL-2-stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells is driven in an autocrine/paracrine manner by endogenous cytokines.

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Laboratory of Immunoregulation, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892.


Replication of HIV is regulated by virus-encoded regulatory proteins, as well as by a variety of cellular factors including cytokines. In the present study, we have investigated the autocrine/paracrine effects of endogenous cytokines on HIV replication in primary PBMCs of healthy HIV seronegative individuals. Addition of rIL-2 to cultures between 0 and 72 h after isolation of PBMCs allowed the replication of primary HIV isolates and laboratory-adapted HIV strains to levels comparable with or greater than those obtained in parallel cultures of autologous PHA-blasts. In this regard, both major cellular targets of HIV infection, CD4+ T lymphocytes and mononuclear phagocytes, were maintained for several weeks in IL-2-stimulated PBMC cultures and virion production was observed in both cell lineages. The kinetics of secretion of several cytokines (such as TNF-alpha, IL-1 beta, IL-6, and IFN-gamma), as well as expression of cellular activation markers, paralleled HIV replication in IL-2-stimulated PBMCs. Endogenous pro-inflammatory cytokines and IFN-gamma played a major role in the regulation of HIV replication in IL-2-stimulated PBMCs, as determined by the ability of several anti-cytokine Abs or antagonists to suppress HIV production; this was not the case in parallel cultures of autologous PHA-blasts. Thus, IL-2-stimulated PBMCs may represent a more physiologic in vitro system than PHA-blasts for the study of HIV infection and replication, and should prove useful in investigating the role of cytokines and other host factors in the regulation of HIV production.

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