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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Dynamic analysis of Th1/Th2 cytokine concentration during antiretroviral therapy of HIV-1/HCV co-infected Patients

Wenzhen Kang*, Yuan Li, Yan Zhuang, Ke Zhao, Dedong Huang and Yongtao Sun*

Author Affiliations

Department of Infectious Diseases, Tangdu Hospital Affiliated to the Fourth Military Medical University, Xi'an, P.R. China

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2012, 12:102  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-12-102

Published: 25 April 2012

Abstract

Background

Co-infection with hepatitis C (HCV) is very common in human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1) infected patients. Although HIV co-infection clearly accelerates progression of HCV-related fibrosis and liver disease, controversy remains as to the impact of HCV on HIV disease progression in co-infected patients. HIV can cause immune dysfunction, in which the regulatory function of T helper (Th) cells is very essential. Moreover, cytokines derived from Th cells play a prominent role in viral infection. Investigating the functional changes of Th1 and Th2 cells in cytokine level can improve the understanding of the effect of co-infected HCV on HIV infection.

Methods

In this study, we measured the baseline Th1/Th2 cytokine concentration in sera by using flow cytometry in HIV/HCV co-infection, HIV mono-infection, HCV mono-infection, and healthy control group, as well as the dynamic changes of these cytokine levels after receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART).

Results

The ratio of Th1 and Th2 cytokine concentration in HIV/HCV co-infection was higher than HCV mono-infection and healthy control group, while lower than HIV mono-infection group. After HAART was initiated, the Th1/Th2 ratio of HIV/HCV co-infection group decreased to the same level of healthy control, while HIV mono-infection group was still higher than the control group.

Conclusions

There was no significant evidence showing co-infected with HCV had negative effect on HIV related diseases. However, co-infected with HCV can decrease Th1/Th2 ratio by affecting Th1 cytokine level, especially the secretion of IFN-γ. With the initiation of HAART, Th1 and Th2 cytokine levels were progressively reduced. HIV was the main stimulating factor of T cells in HIV/HCV co-infection group.