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Clin Exp Immunol. 1994 Apr;96(1):59-63.

Increased levels of interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma), IL-4 and transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) mRNA expressing blood mononuclear cells in human HIV infection.

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Department of Neurology, Huddinge Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.


Evidence has been presented for the involvement of IFN-gamma, IL-4 and TGF-beta in AIDS. Measured plasma levels may, however, poorly reflect in vivo production, since cytokines act auto- and paracrinally and have very short half life in plasma. In situ hybridization with complementary DNA oligonucleotide probes was used to enumerate blood mononuclear cells expressing cytokine messenger RNA (mRNA). HIV-infected patients had elevated blood levels of cells expressing each of the cytokines, with predominance for cells expressing TGF-beta mRNA. All AIDS patients included had elevated numbers of IL-4 mRNA-expressing cells, and levels of cells expressing this cytokine correlated inversely with counts of CD4+ cells in blood, reflecting the involvement of Th2-like cells in later stages of HIV infection. The described approach should be useful in further studies of cytokines in HIV infection and other diseases.

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