Soluble (s) CD14, a marker for monocyte/macrophage activation and a mediator of bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) action, was elevated in serum from human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV- 1)-infected individuals (n = 92) compared with seronegative controls. The highest levels were found in patients with advanced clinical and immunological disease. Patients with ongoing clinical events had significantly higher sCD14 levels than symptomatic HIV-1-infected individuals without clinical events, with especially elevated levels in patients infected with Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC). On longitudinal testing of patients (n = 26) with less than 100 x 10(6) CD4 lymphocytes/L at baseline, we found that increasing sCD14 serum concentrations per time unit were associated with death, whereas no differences in CD4 cell number decrease were found between survivors and nonsurvivors. In vitro studies showed that HIV-1 glycoprotein 120 and purified protein derivative (PPD) from M avium (MAC-PPD) stimulated normal monocytes to release sCD14. Furthermore, MAC-PPD induced tumor necrosis factor (TNF) release from monocytes through interactions with CD14 and, importantly, the addition of sCD14 enhanced this MAC-PPD stimulatory effect. Our findings suggest that the CD14 molecule may be involved in the immunopathogenesis of HIV-1 infection, and it is conceivable that serial determination of sCD14 may give useful predictive information concerning disease progression and survival in HIV-1-infected patients.
Copyright 1998 by The American Society of Hematology.