Skip Navigation LinksHome > July 15, 1997 - Volume 11 - Issue 9 > Demonstration of the Th1 to Th2 cytokine shift during the co...

Demonstration of the Th1 to Th2 cytokine shift during the course of HIV‐1 infection using cytoplasmic cytokine detection on single cell level by flow cytometry

Klein, Stefan A.1,2; Dobmeyer, Jürgen M.1; Dobmeyer, Thomas S.1; Pape, Martine1; Ottmann, Oliver G.1; Helm, Eilke B.1; Hoelzer, Dieter1; Rossol, Rita1

Collapse Box


Objective: To characterize changes of Th1/Th2 cytokine production by peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) that occur during the course of HIV infection by cytoplasmic cytokine staining on single cell level.

Design and methods: Mitogen-stimulated PBMC from 16 healthy donors, 18 HIV-1-infected individuals without AIDS and 14 patients with AIDS were stained intracellularly with fluorescein-labelled MAb against interleukin (IL)-2, IL-4, IL-10 and interferon (IFN)-γ. Additionally, co-staining of CD4+ T-cell, CD8+ T-cell, natural killer (NK) cell, B-cell and monocytic markers was performed. Fluorescence staining was analysed by three-colour flow-cytometry.

Results: A reduced percentage of IL-2 and IFN-γ (Th1 type)-producing cells among CD4+ T cells from HIV-1-infected individuals could be demonstrated. There was a continuous decrease of IFN-γ-producing CD4+ T cells in the course of HIV infection and a dramatic reduction of IL-2-expressing cells among CD4+ T cells in patients with AIDS. In contrast to Th1 cytokines, the frequency of Th2 cytokine expressing cells among CD4+ T cells increased in HIV-infected individuals. The maximum frequency of IL-4-expressing cells among CD4+ T cells was seen in HIV-infected individuals without AIDS, whereas the rate of IL-10-producing cells was highest in patients with AIDS. In HIV-infected individuals no significant proportion of Th0 cells expressing both Th1 and Th2 cytokines was detectable. In CD8+ T cells the percentage of IL-2 was expressing cells decreased continuously accompanied by a strong increase of the frequency of IFN-γ-producing cells.

Conclusion: The decreased percentage of cells expressing IL-2 and IFN-γ in conjunction with an increased proportion of IL-4- and IL-10-producing cells among the CD4+ T cells in HIV-1-infected individuals demonstrate a Th1 to Th2 cytokine shift in the course of HIV infection on a single cell level. There was no evidence of a Th1 to Th0 cytokine shift. In addition to the loss of CD4+ T cells in HIV infection, the qualitative changes of Th1/Th2 cytokine expression may serve as a marker for progressive failure of cell-mediated immunity.

© Lippincott-Raven Publishers.


Article Tools


Article Level Metrics

Search for Similar Articles
You may search for similar articles that contain these same keywords or you may modify the keyword list to augment your search.