Background: HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), causing acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), is one of the most important health problems in the world. Certain cytokines produced during the cytokine storm in an acute infection can be biomarker candidates. The strong association of IFN-γ inducible protein 10 (IP-10) with low CD4 cell counts suggests that it can be an acute phase biomarker.
Methods: In this study, IP-10 was monitored at routine controls during pre-treatment and/or in subsequent phases of treatment, and its correlation with CD4 cell count and viral load was assessed. Venous blood samples, taken from 30 patients (at 0 - 3 - 6 months), and 20 healthy volunteers, were sent to the Laboratory for flow cytometry, nucleic acid tests (NAT) and ELISA tests.
Results: The mean IP-10 concentration of patients was 344 pg/mL, and these values for the untreated, treated and control groups were 422 pg/mL and 210 pg/mL and 68 pg/mL respectively. A statistically significant difference was found between the IP-10 values of the patient and control groups (p = 0.006). There was a significant, positive and moderate relation between IP-10 and viral load values (r = 0.59, p < 0.001), while there was a significant, negative and moderate relation between IP-10 and CD4 cell count (r = -0.51, p < 0.001).
Conclusions: IP-10 levels in early HIV-1 patients, which are shown to be closely related to CD4 cell levels and viral replication, may be an alternative or support marker compared to the more expensive viral load tests in monitor-ing viremia changes and response to antiretroviral treatment.