No change in impaired cellular immune response of HIV-negative homosexuals after 15 years of HIV epidemic in eastern/central european region

Éva Barabás, Rhenso González, Károly Nagy, Viktória Várkonyi, Attila Horváth

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Impaired cell-mediated immune reactivity to polyclonal mitogens was determined in HIV-negative homosexual men (HIV-MSM). Results were compared to those we reported in a complex clinical and immunological investigation in the same risk groups 15 years ago, before the onset of the AIDS epidemic in Hungary. Cellular immune reactivity to polyclonal mitogens was studied in 74 HIV-infected or HIV-uninfected homosexual men and heterosexual controls. Lymphocytes in whole-blood cultures were stimulated with various doses of phytohaemagglutinin (PHA), concanavalin-A (Con-A), and pokeweed mitogen (PWM) in a blast transformation assay. A significant difference (p = .0002) in lymphocyte proliferation between HIV-MSM vs. heterosexuals using PWM in both concentrations was found. Proliferative capacity was similar in HIV- MSM and HIV infected males with CD4+ > 500/μl. Con-A and PHA showed a less expressed proliferative response. Decreased lymphocyte reactivity to PWM, similar to the one in early HIV infection, could be observed in HIV-MSM This HIV-independent mild immunodeficiency in MSM is a sign of an increased susceptibility and predisposes to subsequent HIV infection. It seems, however, that MSM's impaired immune response observed over a period of 15 years is an immunodeficiency not changed by the emerging HIV/AIDS epidemic. Our study provides an explanation why the incidence of new HIV cases in homo-/bisexual individuals is still high (> 70%), and it indicates that it remains high in Hungary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172-175
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Investigational Allergology and Clinical Immunology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2001



  • Cellular immunity
  • HIV-negative homosexual men
  • Immune deficiency
  • Lectins
  • Whole-blood culture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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