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

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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 individuals. 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, > 500 x 106/l; group 2, 200-500 x 106/l; group 3, <200 x 106/l). Sera from 15 Ugandan and 11 Italian HIV-negative blood donors were also analysed. Serum concentration of type 1 cytokines [interleukin (IL)-2, IL-12, and interferon (IFN)-γ] 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-γ 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1535-1542
Number of pages8
JournalAIDS (London, England)
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 1996


  • Africa
  • AIDS
  • Apoptosis
  • Cytokines
  • HIV
  • Immune activation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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