Immunologic characterization of children vertically infected with human immunodeficiency virus, with slow or rapid disease progression

J Pediatr. 1995 Mar;126(3):368-74. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3476(95)70450-7.


Cytokine production of unstimulated and mitogen-stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells of 31 children vertically infected with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV) and with different patterns of disease progression was evaluated to establish possible correlations between the immunologic and the clinical findings. Production of interferon gamma and interleukin-2 (type 1 cytokines), and of interleukin-4 and interleukin-10 (type 2 cytokines), was analyzed in seven symptom-free patients (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention class P-1B), 10 patients with mild symptoms (class P-2A), and 14 patients with severe symptoms (class P-2B-F). Cytokine production was compared with that of 10 age- and sex-matched control subjects who were seronegative for HIV. The HIV-infected patients produced significantly fewer type 1 cytokines and significantly more type 2 cytokines than the uninfected control subjects. No differences in the production of interferon gamma and interleukin-2 were detected among the different clinical categories of HIV-infected patients. In contrast, interleukin-4 production was augmented in the patients with class P-2A (p < 0.05) and class P-2B-F HIV infection (p < 0.03), in comparison with the children with class P-1B infection. The increase in interleukin-4 production was paralleled by an increase in the number of children with hyperimmunoglobulinemia E in each of the clinical groups (0% in class P-1B; 40% in class P-2A; and 71% in class P-2 B-F infection). Similarly, interleukin-10 production was increased both in patients with class P-2A and in those with class P-2B-F infection, in comparison with the children with class P-1B disease (p < 0.006 and < 0.04, respectively). These data indicate (1) that vertically acquired HIV infection results in decreased production of type 1 cytokines and in increased production of type 2 cytokines, and (2) that an increased production of type 2 cytokines correlates with hyperimmunoglobulinemia E and is present in, and may be characteristic of, the symptomatic phases of childhood HIV infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cytokines / blood*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / immunology*
  • HIV Infections / transmission
  • HIV Seronegativity / immunology
  • HIV-1*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood*
  • Immunoglobulins / blood
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical*
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / immunology
  • Lymphocyte Count
  • Lymphocyte Subsets
  • Male


  • Cytokines
  • Immunoglobulins
  • Immunoglobulin E