Kinetics of plasma cytokines and chemokines during primary HIV-1 infection and after analytical treatment interruption

Authors


Babilonia Barqasho, Clinical Microbiology, F68, Karolinska Institutet, Karolinska University Hospital, 141 86 Stockholm, Sweden. Tel: +46 8 5858 1306; fax: +46 8 5858 7933; e-mail: babilonia.barqasho@ki.se

Abstract

Background

There are strong theoretical arguments for initiating antiretroviral therapy (ART) during primary HIV-1 infection (PHI) to preserve HIV-1-specific T-cell responses and to decrease immune activation.

Methods

We assessed the degree of immune activation during PHI and after analytical treatment interruption (ATI) in plasma samples from 22 subjects by measuring 13 cytokines/chemokines with the Luminex system. Subjects initiated quadruple ART at PHI (the QUEST cohort) and were classified as responders or nonresponders according to their HIV-1 viral load (VL) 6 months post-ATI.

Results

During PHI, nonresponders had higher levels of HIV-1 RNA, interferon (IFN)-γ, tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-10 and eotaxin than responders (P≤0.05). A positive correlation was found between VL and IFN-α, TNF-α, IL-1β, macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-1α and MIP-1β, respectively. Post ATI, responders had higher levels of IFN-γ, MIP-1β and monocyte chemotactic protein (MCP)-1 than nonresponders, while nonresponders had higher levels of HIV-1 RNA, IL-15 and eotaxin. Cytokine/chemokine levels were higher during PHI than post-ATI.

Conclusions

High levels of immune activation during PHI are associated with a worse virological outcome post-ATI. In contrast, VL post-ATI is negatively correlated with IFN-γ and chemokines. Therefore, the degree of immune activation during PHI is associated with both the VL at PHI and the viral set-point post-ART.

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