Elevation of plasma thioredoxin levels in HIV-infected individuals

Int Immunol. 1996 Apr;8(4):603-11. doi: 10.1093/intimm/8.4.603.


Thioredoxin (Trx), a ubiquitous protein intimately involved in redox and protein disulfide reductions, has been shown to be released from cells and to have cytokine-like activities. In addition, Trx has been implicated in the redox regulation of immunological responses and shown to be deficient in tissues from AIDS patients. In studies presented here, plasma Trx levels were measured by ELISA in plasma samples from HIV-infected individuals (n = 136) and HIV-negative controls (n = 47). To account for the release of Trx into plasma due to hemolysis, the Trx measurements were corrected according to the level of hemoglobin in the plasma sample. Data presented show that, in contrast to tissue Trx levels, corrected plasma Trx levels are significantly higher in HIV-infected individuals than in controls (P < 0.0001). Furthermore, approximately 25% of the HIV-infected individuals studied have plasma Trx levels greater than the highest levels found in controls (37 ng/ml). Detailed multiparameter FACS analysis of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from the infected individuals demonstrates that those with higher plasma Trx levels (37 ng/ml or greater) tend to have lower overall CD4 counts. In addition, increases in plasma Trx levels correlate with decreases in monochlorobimane staining (indicative of lower intracellular glutathione levels in PBMC) and with changes in surface antigen expression (CD62L, CD38 and CD20) that occur in the later stages of HIV infection. These correlations suggest that elevation of plasma Trx levels may be an important component of advanced HIV disease, perhaps related to the oxidative stress that often occurs at this stage.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, CD / analysis
  • Blood Platelets / cytology
  • CD4 Lymphocyte Count
  • Disease Progression
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • HIV Infections / blood*
  • Hemoglobins / analysis
  • Humans
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / metabolism
  • Thioredoxins / blood*


  • Antigens, CD
  • Hemoglobins
  • Thioredoxins
  • Glutathione