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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 4 (1995), Issue 4, Pages 306-309

Defective production of interferon-γ and tumour necrosis factor-α by AIDS mononuclear cells after in vitro exposure to Rhodococcus equi

Department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, La Sapienza University, Rome, Italy

Copyright © 1995 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The production of interferon-γ and tumour necrosis factor-α was evaluated in the peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from healthy donors and AIDS patients after Rhodococcus equi infection in vitro. PBMCs from healthy donors secreted elevated levels of IFN-γ and TNF-α when challenged in vitro with killed R. equi, whereas the release of both cytokines was impaired in supernatant cultures from AIDS patients. We conclude that the failure of IFN-γ generation in AIDS patients in response to R. equi is not antigen-specific but it may reflect the global impairment of T-cell function. In such patients, however, the infection with R. equi, a facultative intracellular pathogen which survives and replicates within macrophages, may be responsible for the impairment in the TNF-α release, possibly enhancing the HIV-induced macrophage dysftmction.