Cross-sectional studies were conducted to measure soluble viral and immunological markers in plasma in order to determine the prognostic value of these markers for HIV disease progression in Ethiopians and to see their association with cell surface markers in HIV-1-infected and noninfected Ethiopians. Whole blood samples were collected from 52 HIV-1-negative Ethiopians, 32 HIV-1-positive Ethiopians with absolute CD4(+) T-cell count >200/microl whole blood and no AIDS defining conditions, and 39 HIV-positive Ethiopians with CD4(+) T-cell count <200/microl and/or AIDS defining conditions. Plasma levels of b(2)-microglobulin (b(2)m), soluble CD27 (sCD27), soluble tumor necrosis factor alpha receptor type II (sTNFR-II), IgG, IgA, IGE, and IL12 were elevated in HIV-1-infected individuals. The plasma levels of sTNFR-II, sCD27, b(2)m, IL12, and IgG were inversely correlated with numbers of CD4(+) T-cells, the proportion of naïve (CD45RA(+)CD27(+)) CD8(+) T-cells, and the proportion of CD8(+) T-cells expressing CD28 (CD8(+)CD28(+)) were positively correlated with the proportions of activated (HLA-DR(+)CD38(+)) CD4(+) T-cells, as well as activated (HLA-DR(+)CD38(+)) CD8(+) T-cells. A strong positive correlation was also observed when soluble immune markers were compared to each other. Multivariate regression analyses of soluble markers with numbers of CD4(+) T-cells showed that sCD27 is the best independent marker for CD4(+) T-cell decline in the HIV-1-infected Ethiopians. Our results indicate that measurement of soluble immune markers, which is relatively easy to perform, could be a good alternative to the quantification of T-cell subsets for monitoring HIV-1 disease progression in places where there is no facility for flow cytometric measurements.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.