Kinetics of the changes of lymphocyte subsets defined by cytokine production at single cell level during highly active antiretroviral therapy for HIV-1 infection

J Immunol. 1999 Mar 15;162(6):3718-26.


The effects of highly active antiretroviral therapy on cytokine imbalances associated with HIV-1 infection have not been characterized. Using single cell analysis by flow cytometry, we show that a significant recovery in the frequency of IL-2-producing cells was only observed in patients with a sustained control of viral replication and that the overexpanded CD8 T cell population of CD28- IFN-gamma + cells was not significantly reduced after 1 yr of effective therapy. Moreover, a detrimental role of IL-4 is suggested by the association between an enhanced proportion of IL-4-producing cells within the CD4 and particularly the CD8 subset and viral load rebound. Finally, the kinetics of changes of cell subsets assessed for simultaneous production of different cytokines supports the view that cell reconstitution during highly active antiretroviral therapy is initially due to redistribution of terminally differentiated cells, followed by peripheral expansion of less differentiated ones and a late progressive increase of the proportion of functionally defined naive/memory precursor lymphocytes. These data bring new support for the role of cytokine imbalances in AIDS pathogenesis and may be relevant for the definition of immunointervention targets.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-HIV Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy
  • HIV Infections / immunology*
  • HIV Infections / virology
  • HIV-1 / drug effects
  • HIV-1 / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Interferon-gamma / analysis
  • Interferon-gamma / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-2 / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-4 / analysis
  • Interleukin-4 / biosynthesis
  • Kinetics
  • Leukocyte Common Antigens / analysis
  • Lymphocyte Count / drug effects
  • Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology
  • Lymphocyte Subsets / metabolism*
  • Lymphocyte Subsets / virology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / metabolism


  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • Cytokines
  • Interleukin-2
  • Interleukin-4
  • Interferon-gamma
  • Leukocyte Common Antigens