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AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 1998 Jan 20;14(2):123-7.

In vitro production of cytokines in whole blood versus plasma concentrations of cytokines in AIDS.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Academic Medical Center of Amsterdam University, The Netherlands.


Reports on plasma concentrations of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TFN-alpha), interleukin 6 (IL-6), IL-10, and IFN-alpha in AIDS patients are contradictory. An alternative approach for the estimation of cytokine production is the measurement of lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated cytokine production in whole blood. We compared plasma concentrations of these cytokines, soluble TNF receptor (sTNFr) types I and II, and LPS-stimulated cytokine production in whole blood from clinically stable AIDS patients (n = 6) and healthy controls (n = 6). The plasma concentrations of TNF-alpha and sTNFr-II were higher in AIDS patients compared with controls (mean [95% CL]: TNF-alpha, 24 [17-31] and 8 [1-16] pg/ml, respectively, p < 0.01; sTNFr-II, 6.8 [4.6-9.0] and 3.2 [2.4-4.0] ng/ml, respectively, p < 0.01). The plasma concentrations of sTNFr-I and IL-10 were not different between AIDS patients and controls. Neither IL-6 nor IFN-alpha was detectable in any plasma sample. LPS-stimulated production in whole blood of TNF-alpha, IL-6, IL-10, and IFN-alpha was not different between AIDS patients and controls at any combination of LPS concentration (0, 0.1, 0.5, 1, 10, 100, and 1000 ng/ml) and duration of stimulation (0, 4, 8, and 24 hr). It is concluded that the plasma concentrations of TNF-alpha and sTNFr-II, but not of IL-6, IL-10, IFN-alpha, and sTNFr-I, are higher in AIDS patients compared with controls. The production of cytokines in LPS-stimulated whole blood does not provide information additional to the measurements of plasma concentrations.

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