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. 1989 Feb;370(2):101-8.
doi: 10.1515/bchm3.1989.370.1.101.

Low Concentrations of Acid-Soluble Thiol (Cysteine) in the Blood Plasma of HIV-1-infected Patients


Low Concentrations of Acid-Soluble Thiol (Cysteine) in the Blood Plasma of HIV-1-infected Patients

H P Eck et al. Biol Chem Hoppe Seyler. .


Blood plasma samples from HIV-1-infected persons contain elevated glutamate concentrations up to 6-fold the normal level and relatively low concentrations of acid-soluble thiol (i.e. decreased cysteine concentrations). The intracellular glutathione concentration in peripheral blood-mononuclear cells (PBMC) and monocytes from HIV antibody-positive persons are also significantly decreased. Therapy with azidothymidine (AZT) causes a substantial recovery of the plasma thiol levels; but glutamate levels remain significantly elevated and intracellular glutathione levels remain low. Cell culture experiments with approximately physiological amino-acid concentrations revealed that variations of the extracellular cysteine concentration have a strong influence on the intracellular glutathione level and the rate of DNA synthesis [( 3H]thymidine incorporation) in T cell clones and human and murine lymphocyte preparations even in the presence of several-fold higher cystine and methionine concentrations. Cysteine cannot be replaced by a corresponding increase of the extracellular cystine or methionine concentration. These experiments suggest strongly that the low cysteine concentration in the plasma of HIV-infected persons may play a role in the pathogenetic mechanism of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.

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