HIV-1 inhibits Leishmania-induced cell proliferation but not production of interleukin-6 and tumour necrosis factor alpha

Scand J Immunol. 1994 Apr;39(4):380-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3083.1994.tb03389.x.


The immune response of normal human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) after stimulation with human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) antigens plus Leishmania donovani promastigotes in vitro was investigated. HIV-1-antigen stimulation of PBMC did not induce the intracellular accumulation of interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), or interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma). However, cells stimulated with L. donovani antigens exhibited the production of IL-6 and TNF-alpha, but not IFN-gamma. Furthermore, co-stimulation of PBMC with HIV-1 antigen plus L. donovani resulted in the intracellular accumulation of IL-6 and TNF-alpha comparable to that of cells that were activated with L. donovani antigen alone. Heat-inactivated HIV-1 antigen did not appear to induce or suppress cytokine production by PBMC. However, the same HIV antigens did suppress L. donovani-induced proliferation as well as PPD-induced proliferation in a dose-dependent fashion. Elevated levels of serum cytokines have been demonstrated in patients with HIV infection indicating their role in the pathogenesis of HIV-associated immunosuppression. The results may partially support the idea that the abnormally increased cytokine levels in the sera of HIV-infected subjects is due to the various opportunistic pathogens that these patients contract, rather than a response to HIV antigens. As cytokines have been shown to up-regulate HIV replication, the data suggest a role for opportunistic infections in cytokine-induced transactivation of HIV-1 and disease progression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / immunology
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Female
  • HIV Antigens
  • HIV Infections / immunology
  • HIV-1 / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immune Tolerance
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Interleukin-6 / biosynthesis
  • Kinetics
  • Leishmania donovani / immunology*
  • Leishmaniasis, Visceral / complications
  • Leishmaniasis, Visceral / immunology
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / immunology*
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / biosynthesis


  • HIV Antigens
  • Interleukin-6
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha