Short Communication: Decreased Plasma Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide as a Novel Biomarker for HIV-1 Disease Progression

Morgane Bomsel, Lucia Lopalco, Caterina Uberti-Foppa, Gabriel Siracusano, Yonatan Ganor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


HIV-1 mucosal transmission in genital epithelia occurs through infection of Langerhans cells and subsequent transinfection of CD4 + T cells. We previously reported that the vasodilator neuropeptide calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), secreted upon activation of sensory peripheral neurons that innervate all mucosal epithelia, significantly inhibits transinfection. To investigate the association between CGRP and HIV-1 during infection, we evaluated circulating CGRP levels in HIV-1-infected patients. Plasma was obtained from combination antiretroviral therapy (cART)-naive or cART-treated patients with primary/acute (PHI) or chronic (CHI) HIV-1 infection, as well as from individuals who naturally control HIV-1 infection, namely exposed seronegatives (ESNs), elite controllers (ECs), and long-term nonprogressors (LTNPs). CGRP plasma levels were measured using an enzyme immunoassay. Compared with healthy HIV-1-negative controls, CGRP plasma levels significantly decreased in PHI patients and even further in CHI patients, but remained unchanged in ESNs, ECs, and LTNPs. Moreover, CGRP plasma levels were restored to baseline upon cART in both PHI and CHI. Finally, CGRP plasma levels directly correlated with CD4 + T cell counts and inversely with viral loads. Altogether, CGRP could serve as a novel diagnostic plasma biomarker for progression of HIV-1 infection. Moreover, administration of CGRP to cART-naive HIV-1-infected patients, to compensate for CGRP decline, could help controlling on-going HIV-1 infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-55
Number of pages4
JournalAIDS Research and Human Retroviruses
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019


  • calcitonin gene-related peptide
  • combination antiretroviral therapy
  • elite controllers
  • exposed seronegatives
  • long-term nonprogressors
  • plasma biomarker
  • primary and chronic HIV-1 infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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