Infection with HIV-1 subtype D among Acutely Infected Ugandans is Associated with Higher Median Concentration of Cytokines Compared to Subtype

The observation that HIV-1 subtype D progresses faster to disease than subtype A prompted us to examine cytokine levels early after infection within the predominant viral subtypes that circulate in Uganda and address the following research questions: (1) Do cytokine levels vary between subtypes A1 and D? (2) Do cytokine profiles correlate with disease outcomes? To address these questions, HIV-1 subtypes were determined by population sequencing of the HIV-1 pol gene and 37 plasma cytokine concentrations were evaluated using V-Plex kits on Meso Scale Discovery platform in 65 recent sero-converters. HIV-1 subtype D (pol) infections exhibited significantly higher median plasma concentrations of IL-5, IL-16, IL-1α, IL-7, IL-17A, CCL11 (Eotaxin-1), CXCL10 (IP-10), CCL13 (MCP-4) and VEGF-D compared to subtype A1 (pol) infections. We also found that IL-12/23p40 and IL-1α were associated with faster CD4+T cell count decline, while bFGF was associated with maintenance of CD4+ counts above 350 cells/microliter. Our results suggest that increased production of cytokines in early HIV infection may trigger a disruption of the immune environment and contribute to pathogenic mechanisms underlying the accelerated disease progression seen in individuals infected with HIV-1 subtype D in Uganda.
Disease progression, HIV-1 subtypes, Cytokines
Kapaata, A., Balinda, S. N., Hare, J., Leonova, O., Kikaire, B., Egesa, M., ... & Kaleebu, P. (2022). Infection with HIV-1 subtype D among acutely infected Ugandans is associated with higher median concentration of cytokines compared to subtype A. IJID Regions, 3, 89-95.