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Clin Exp Immunol. 1997 Apr;108(1):14-8.

Role of IL-15 in HIV-1-associated hypergammaglobulinaemia.

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Institut für Hygiene, Leopold-Franzens-Universität Innsbruck, Austria.


IL-15 is a novel cytokine, produced by monocytes/macrophages, with biological activities similar to IL-2 but with no significant sequence homology. IL-15 also stimulates human B cells to proliferation and immunoglobulin secretion. We measured serum levels of IL-15 in 84 HIV-1-infected individuals at different stages of disease in reference to 41 healthy blood donors. Our results show a marked elevation of IL-15 serum levels during HIV-1 infection. Moreover, we found that this increase correlated with serum levels of IgG (r = 0.376, P < 0.0001), and partly with serum IgM (r = 0.265, P = 0.015). A significant increase of IL-15 production by cultured peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and purified monocytes in the presence of HIV-1 virus suggests that monocytes/macrophages may be a source of higher IL-15 serum levels in HIV-1-infected individuals. These findings indicate a participation of IL-15 in the hypergammaglobulinaemia frequently associated with HIV-1 infection.

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