Infection with HIV results in an incremental loss of T helper cell (TH) function, which can occur years before CD4 cell numbers are critically reduced and AIDS is diagnosed. All TH function is not affected, however, because B cell activation and hypergammaglobulinema are also characteristic of this period. Recently, in a murine model of AIDS an early loss in production of the CD4 cytokines IL-2 and IFN-γ was correlated with an increase in the B cell stimulatory cytokines IL-4, IL-5, and IL-10. We therefore assessed the production of IL-4 generated by PBL from HIV- seropositive (HIV+) individuals who did not have AIDS, yet who exhibited different TH functional categories based on their IL-2 production profiles. We observed that the decreases in recall antigen-stimulated IL-2 production were accompanied by an increase in IL-4 production. The loss of recall antigen-stimulated responses in HIV+ individuals could be reversed in vitro by anti-IL-4 antibody. Our results suggest that the TH functions assessed by IL-4 production replace the normally dominant TH function of antigen- stimulated IL-2 production in the progression toward AIDS, and raise the possibility of cytokine cross-regulation in AIDS therapy.
- T lymphocytes
- human immunodeficiency virus infection
ASJC Scopus subject areas