Induction of lymphomonocyte activation by HIV-1 glycoprotein gp120. Possible role in AIDS pathogenesis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dysfunction of cytokine secretion pattern has been suggested to play a central role in the immunopathogenesis of HIV infection. In fact a shift of T helper cell functions from a Th1-type to TH0-or TH2-type has been observed in HIV-1 infected subjects undergoing disease progression. The inbalance of cytokine network is accompanied by persistent activation of the immune system, impaired ability to mount a proper activation response (anergy), and priming to apoptosis. Extensive investigation during the last decade has been conducted on the influence of HIV-1 gp120 or of its precursor gp 160 on several lymphocyte and monocyte functions. Gp120 is able to rise intracellular calcium concentration and to induce the formation of inositol triphosphate, can block mitogen- or antigen-driven T cell activation, can induce altered cytokine production by activated PBMC subpopulations, determines impaired cytotoxicity and chemotactic response to antigens, interferes with the activity of antigen presenting cells. enhances or induces apoptosis, stimulates polyclonal B cell activation and induces or up-modulates a number of cytokines, including IL-6, TNF, IL-1-alpha and -beta. IL-10 and IL-8. Furthermore, both IFN-alpha and-gamma, as well as several markers of IFN activity, such as β2-microglobulin and neopterin, are induced in gp120-stimulated PBMC. However, neither IL-4 (Th2-type) nor IL-2 (Th1-type), nor DNA synthesis are activated by gp120. On the other hand gp120-stimulated PBMC express increased IL-2 receptors, and can be induced by exogenous IL-2 to proliferate, suggesting that they are in a state of at least partial activation. According to this hypothesis, other activation markers, both early (such as CD69), and late (such as CD45RO and CD71), are induced by gp120, but this even partial activation does not lead to the ability of PBMC to support productive infection by HIV-1, unless in the presence of exogenous IL-2. The HIV-induced cytokines can influence HIV infection either directly, by up- or down-modulating virus replication, or indirectly, by modulating the expression of cellular molecules. In fact, during the budding process, the HIV envelope captures a number of cell membrane proteins, including cytokine receptors such as IL-2R, adhesion molecules such as LFA-1, ICAM-1, -2 and -3, HLA Class I and II, as well as cell lineage markers. Gp 120-induced cytokines, particularly IFN-gamma, upmodulate the cellular expression of intercellular adhesion molecules, such as ICAM-1, We have shown that the IFN-gamma-driven increase of the expression of ICAM-1 by cells chronically infected with HIV-1 can be transmitted to the virus progeny, resulting in phenotypic alteration of the virus, and leading to the expansion of its host cell spectrum to CD4-negative cells expressing the appropriate ligands, i.e. LFA-1. Intercellular ahdesion molecules are also involved in the cell-mediated transmission of HIV infection, and the increased ICAM-1 expression induced by IFN-gamma determines a stimulation of the transmission of HIV from abortively infected endothelial cells to permissive CD4 lymphocytes. On the whole, these data indicate that HIV, or its soluble products such as gp120. can modify several PBMC functions, by inducing a number of cytokines and a partial state of immune activation. It is possible that the gp120-driven changes of PBMC functions are not only an epiphenomenon of HIV infection, but, rather, it is likely that they can participate in the imminopathological events responsible for disease progression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-91
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Regulators and Homeostatic Agents
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1996


  • Cytokines
  • gp120
  • HIV
  • Lymphomonocyte activation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Endocrinology
  • Physiology
  • Immunology
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Induction of lymphomonocyte activation by HIV-1 glycoprotein gp120. Possible role in AIDS pathogenesis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this