Abstract

A switch from a T helper 1 (TH1) cytokine phenotype to a TH2 phenotype has been proposed as a critical element in the progression of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease. Here, constitutive cytokine expression was analyzed in unfractionated and sorted cell populations isolated from peripheral blood and lymph nodes of HIV-infected individuals at different stages of disease. Expression of interleukin-2 (IL-2) and IL-4 was barely detectable (or undetectable) regardless of the stage of disease. CD8+ cells expressed large amounts of interferon gamma and IL-10, and the levels of these cytokines remained stably high throughout the course of infection. Furthermore, similar patterns of cytokine expression were observed after stimulation in vitro of purified CD4+ T cell populations obtained from HIV-infected individuals at different stages of disease. These results indicate that a switch from the TH1 to the TH2 cytokine phenotype does not occur during the progression of HIV disease.

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