Objective: To study type 1 and type 2 cytokine patterns in HIV-negative high-risk intravenous drug users (IVDU).
Design: We investigated interleukin (IL)-2, interferon (IFN)-gamma, IL-4, IL-6 and IL-10 production by phytohaemagglutinin (PHA)-stimulated and unstimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) cultures from HIV-negative high-risk IVDU, HIV-negative controls and HIV-positive subjects.
Methods: Cytokine production was measured in supernatants using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) in 10 HIV-negative high-risk IVDU, 25 HIV-negative controls, and 12 HIV-positive IVDU. We also determined spontaneous in vitro immunoglobulin (Ig) G and IgM production.
Results: HIV-negative high-risk IVDU showed increased IFN-gamma and decreased IL-4, IL-10 and IL-2, although the latter was not significant compared with HIV-negative controls. Further, HIV-negative high-risk IVDU had reduced IgG production and impaired IgM-IgG switch.
Conclusions: The reduced IL-2 and IL-4 production suggest an impaired CD4+ T-cell function in HIV-negative high-risk IVDU. The increased IFN-gamma production along with the decreased type 2 cytokine profile is consistent with the hypothesis that protective immunity against HIV may reside in type 1 responses and cell-mediated immunity.