Cytokine network and acute primary HIV-1 infection

AIDS. 1993 Sep;7(9):1167-72. doi: 10.1097/00002030-199309000-00003.


Objective: To investigate the relationship between cytokine serum levels, peripheral blood lymphocyte subsets and clinical picture in acute primary HIV-1 infection.

Patients and methods: Absolute number/microliters total lymphocytes, CD4+, CD8+ and natural killer (NK) cells, as well as serum levels of soluble CD8 receptor, interleukin (IL)-1 beta, IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, interferon (IFN)-gamma, beta 2-microglobulin and 5'-neopterin were determined in 15 patients with acute primary HIV-1 infection, 16 asymptomatic HIV-1-seropositive individuals and 18 HIV-1-seronegative individuals at risk for HIV-1 infection.

Results: Acute primary HIV-1 infection was characterized by significant CD4+ lymphocytopenia with low IL-2 serum concentrations, and by high absolute number of circulating CD8+ and NK cells, with elevated serum levels of soluble CD8 receptor, IL-1 beta, IFN-gamma and 5'-neopterin. Follow-up of acute seroconverters showed a significant decrease in NK cell counts and IL-1 beta levels, with an increase of IL-6.

Conclusions: In acute primary HIV-1 infection, significant alteration of cytokine release, possibly induced by viral antigens, could be responsible for both clinical picture and activation of cytotoxic cells through abnormal mechanisms.

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / blood
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / immunology*
  • Adult
  • Biopterin / analogs & derivatives
  • Biopterin / metabolism
  • Cytokines / blood*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • HIV Seropositivity / immunology
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma / blood
  • Interleukins / blood
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neopterin
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism
  • beta 2-Microglobulin / metabolism


  • Cytokines
  • Interleukins
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • beta 2-Microglobulin
  • Biopterin
  • Neopterin
  • Interferon-gamma