Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection causes dysregulation of surface phenotype, of accessory function and of cytokine production from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). As CD40 ligation induces several functional activities in these cells, this stimulation may partially mimic the situation occurring in vivo during an antigen-driven immune response. The aim of this study was to measure cytokine production and immunophenotypic changes induced by CD40 stimulation of PBMCs from HIV-positive patients. Under these experimental conditions, total and heterodimeric interleukin (IL)-12 production from PBMCs was similar, while IL-10 production was increased in HIV-positive patients compared with controls. On the contrary, CD40 ligation did not induce IL-15 production by PBMCs. Surface CD14 was down-modulated, as a consequence of CD40 stimulation, on monocytes from healthy controls but not on monocytes from HIV-positive patients. These data demonstrate that some of the CD40-mediated signals are disturbed in HIV- positive patients. These disturbances may contribute to the immune dysfunction seen in HIV infection.
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