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Expression of cytokine-mRNA in PBMC of HIV-1 subtype C infected individuals with opportunistic viral infections from South India


HIV disease progression is associated with marked change in the level of plasma cytokines. The study reported here investigated the level of mRNA expression of different cytokines: TNF alpha, INF-gamma, IL-10 and IL-21 in the peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) among the HIV infected individuals with viral opportunistic infections.


We quantified the mRNA levels of 4 cytokines in PBMC directly from the blood of individuals infected with HIV and normal healthy controls using TaqMan based RealTime PCR.


The mRNA expressions of all the 4 cytokines in HIV-1 infected individuals were significantly higher compared to healthy controls (p value range 0.0004-0.01). The mean level of IL-10, INF-gamma and TNF alpha were higher in HIV infected individuals with low CD4 counts (<300 cells/µL). The IL-10 expression showed a significant negative correlation with CD4 counts (r = -0.25, p = 0.04) while IL-21 showed a positive correlation with CD4 counts (r = 0.26, p = 0.03). There was significant negative correlation between the CMV viral load and IL-21 expression.


The study showed a significant negative correlation between CD4+ T cell counts and IL-10 mRNA expression showing a shift towards TH2 profile during the late stages of the HIV disease in subtype C infected individuals. This study on HIV-1 subtype C infected individuals with opportunistic viral infections like EBV and CMV adding new information in such specific opportunistic infections.

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Correspondence to Jaiprasath Sachithanandham.

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  • mRNA Expression
  • Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cell
  • Significant Negative Correlation
  • Opportunistic Infection
  • Infected Individual