Restoring Cytokine Balance in HIV-Positive Individuals with Low CD4 T Cell Counts

AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2017 Sep;33(9):905-918. doi: 10.1089/AID.2016.0303. Epub 2017 May 10.


HIV infects and destroys CD4+ T cells leading to a compromised immune system. In a double-blinded study, a group of HIV-infected individuals with CD4+ T cell counts below 350 cells/mm3 were given either an empty liposomal supplement or a liposomal glutathione (L-GSH) supplement to take over a 3-month period. Baseline measurements in HIV-positive subjects show a significant decrease in levels of interleukin (IL)-12, IL-2, and interferon (IFN)-γ, along with a substantial increase in the levels of IL-6, IL-10, transforming growth factor (TGF)-β, and free radicals, compared to healthy individuals. Supplementation of HIV-positive subjects with L-GSH for 3 months resulted in a notable increase in the levels of IL-12, IL-2, and IFN-γ, with a concomitant decrease in the levels of IL-6, IL-10, and free radicals, and stabilization in the levels of TGF-β, IL-1, and IL-17, compared to their placebo counterparts. Levels of free radicals in CD4+ T cells stabilized, while GSH levels increased in the treatment group. Those in the placebo group showed no significant difference throughout the study. In summary, supplementation with L-GSH in HIV-infected individuals with CD4+ T cell counts below 350 cells/mm3 can help restore redox homeostasis and cytokine balance, therefore aiding the immune system to control opportunistic infections.

Keywords: AIDS; HIV; cytokines; glutathione; redox homeostasis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • CD4 Lymphocyte Count / methods
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Cytokines / immunology*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma / immunology
  • Interleukins / immunology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / immunology


  • Cytokines
  • Interleukins
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Interferon-gamma