Proopiomelanocortin-derived peptides and cytokines: relations in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome

Clin Immunol Immunopathol. 1993 Jan;66(1):73-9. doi: 10.1006/clin.1993.1010.


alpha-Melanocyte-stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH), adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH), beta-endorphin, cortisol, and the cytokines interleukin 1 beta (IL-1 beta), interleukin 6 (IL-6), and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF alpha) were measured in 80 AIDS patients (group IV CDC) and in healthy hospital personnel. The average plasma alpha-MSH was significantly greater in AIDS patients than in control subjects; no significant differences between groups were observed in the average concentrations of ACTH, cortisol, and beta-endorphin; plasma cytokines were likewise similar in the two groups. Plasma concentrations of alpha-MSH and ACTH were inversely related in AIDS patients and a similar inverse relation between alpha-MSH and IL-6 was also observed in these patients. There were positive relations among elevated circulating ACTH, cortisol, IL-6, and high fever in AIDS patients with severe concomitant disease. Plasma alpha-MSH concentrations within a specific range correlated positively with 6 month survival. Because cytokines can stimulate HIV expression in certain cell types and they are believed to have a role in disease progression in HIV-infected patients, it may be that a potent endogenous modulator of cytokine action such as alpha-MSH is crucial to survival in these patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / blood*
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / immunology
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / mortality
  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone / blood
  • Adult
  • Cytokines / blood*
  • Female
  • Fever / blood
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Interleukin-1 / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peptides / blood*
  • Pro-Opiomelanocortin / pharmacology*
  • Survival Rate
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / analysis
  • alpha-MSH / blood


  • Cytokines
  • Interleukin-1
  • Peptides
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • alpha-MSH
  • Pro-Opiomelanocortin
  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone
  • Hydrocortisone