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Immunological activation markers in the serum of African and European HIV-seropositive and seronegative individuals.

Rizzardini, Giuliano; Piconi, Stefania; Ruzzante, Stefania; Fusi, Maria-Luisa; Lukwiya, Matthew; Declich, Silvia; Tamburini, Mario; Villa, Maria-Luisa; Fabiani, Massimo; Milazzo, Francesco; Clerici, Mario

Objective: The concentration of type 1 and type 2 cytokines and fibroblast-associated apoptosis-1 soluble receptor (sAPO-1/Fas) was analysed in the sera of Ugandan and Italian HIV-1-seropositive and seronegative individualls. The data were compared to determine whether the immunological status of these groups was different.

Methods: Sixty-seven Ugandan and 30 Italian HIV-positive patients were analysed and stratified according to CD4 counts (group 1, > 500x106/l; group 2, 200-500x106/l; group 3, < 200x106/l). Sera from 15 Ugandan and 11 Italian HIV-negative blood donors were also analysed. Serum concentration of type 1 cytokines [interleu-kin (IL)-2, IL-12, and interferon (IFN)-[gamma]] and type 2 cytokines (IL-4 and IL-10), and sAPO-1/Fas were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.

Results: Serum levels of IL-2, IFN-[gamma] and IL-10, but not of IL-4 and IL-12, were elevated in HIV-positive group 1 and 2 Africans compared with HIV-positive Italian individuals. IL-4 was mildly augmented in HIV-positive group 3 African patients. Serum concentration of sAPO-1/Fas was reduced in HIV-positive Africans compared with HIV-positive Italian individuals. Finally, serum levels of IL-2 and IL-10 were increased and sAPO-1/Fas reduced when sera of HIV-negative African healthy controls were compared with their Italian counterparts. The ratio of type 1/type 2 cytokines was roughly 1.0 in HIV-negative African controls, and much greater than 1.0 in HIV-negative Italian controls.

Conclusions: These preliminary findings indicate that immune activation is present in African HIV infection. Furthermore, these data raise the possibility that abnormal immune activation and increased susceptibility to antigen-induced cell death is present even in HIV-negative African controls.

(C) Lippincott-Raven Publishers.