Increased Mycobacterium tuberculosis growth in HIV-1-infected human macrophages: Role of tumour necrosis factor-α

F. G. Imperiali, A. Zaninoni, L. La Maestra, P. Tarsia, F. Blasi, W. Barcellini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Synergism between Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis) and HIV-1 infections was demonstrated in several in vitro models and clinical studies. Here, we investigated their reciprocal effects on growth in chronically HIV-1-infected promonocytic U1 cells and in acutely infected monocyte-derived macrophages (MDM). Phagocytosis of M. tuberculosis induced HIV-1 expression in U1 cells, together with increased TNF-α production. M. tuberculosis growth, evaluated by competitive PCR, was greater in HIV-1-infected MDM compared to uninfected cells. M. tuberculosis phagocytosis induced greater TNF-α and IL-10 production in HIV-1-infected MDM than in uninfected cells. In uninfected MDM, addition of TNF-α and IFN-γ decreased, whereas IL-10 increased M. tuberculosis growth. On the contrary, in HIV-1-infected MDM, addition of TNF-α and IFN-γ increased, whereas IL-10 has no effect on M. tuberculosis growth. TNF-α seems to play a pivotal role in the enhanced M. tuberculosis growth observed in HIV-1-infected MDM, being unable to exert its physiological antimycobacterial activity. Here, for the first time we demonstrated an enhanced M. tuberculosis growth in HIV-1-infected MDM, in line with the observed clinical synergism between the two infections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)435-442
Number of pages8
JournalClinical and Experimental Immunology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • HIV-1
  • IL-10
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis
  • TNF-α

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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