Tuftsin is an endogenous tetrapeptide that stimulates phagocytosis and is released from the Fc fragment of IgG by a splenic endocarboxypeptidase. Tuftsin activity and splenic function were measured in 21 patients with AIDS, 7 patients with AIDS-related complex (ARC), 22 patients who had undergone splenectomy, and 37 healthy volunteers. There was a significant inverse correlation between tuftsin activity and splenic function in all subjects. Tuftsin activity was significantly lower in patients with AIDS, ARC, and in those who had undergone splenectomy compared with healthy volunteers. Tuftsin deficiency may contribute to the risk of bacterial infection in symptomatic HIV-positive individuals.
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