Objective: Uncontrolled HIV infection progresses to the depletion of systemic and mucosal CD4 and AIDS. Early HIV infection may be associated with increases in the concentration of MIP-3α in the blood and gut fluids. MIP-3α/CCL20 is the only chemokine known to interact with CCR6 receptors which are expressed on immature dendritic cells and both effector and memory CD8+ and CD4+ T cells. The role and prognostic value of blood levels of MIP-3α in HIV-infected individuals has yet to be described.
Methods: We determined the serum levels of MIP-3α, and IFN-γ, in 167 HIV-1-infected and 27 HIV-1-uninfected men participating in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS). The blood biomarkers were measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) and the cell phenotypes using flow cytometry.
Results: Median serum levels of MIP-3α in HIV-1-infected and uninfected men was significantly different (p<0.0001) and were 21.3 pg/mL and 6.4 pg/mL respectively. The HIV-1-infected men with CD4+ T cell count <200 cells/μL showed the highest median serum MIP-3α (23.1 pg/mL). Serum levels of MIP-3α in HIV-1 infected (n=167) were negatively correlated with absolute number of CD4+ T cell (p=0.01) and were positively correlated with CD38 molecules on CD8+ T cells (p=0.0002) and with serum levels of IFN-γ (0.006).
Conclusion: Serum levels of MIP-3α concomitantly increase with plasma levels of IFN-γ, CD38 expression on CD8+ T cells, and decreased of absolute CD4+ T cells in HIV-1-infected men. A higher blood level of MIP-3α may be representation of locally high level of MIP-3α and more recruitment of immature dendritic cell at site of infection. Involvement of CCR6/CCL20 axis and epithelial cells at the recto-colonel level may enhance sexual transmission of HIV-1 in MSM and may be useful as a prognostic marker in HIV-1-infection and AIDS.
Keywords: CD4; Chemokine; HIV infection; MIP-3α/CCL20.