Proliferative capacity and cytokine production by cells of HIV-infected and uninfected adults with different helminth infection phenotypes in South Africa


It has been suggested that the proliferative capacity of cells from individuals with HIV or both HIV and helminth infections is attenuated and cytokine production is dysregulated. This study describes peripheral blood mononuclear cell proliferation capacity and cytokine profile from individuals with HIV or both HIV and helminth infections in South Africa.


Forty HIV-infected and 22 HIV-uninfected participants were randomly selected and stratified into different helminth infection phenotypes by egg excretion and Ascaris lumbricoides specific -immunoglobulin-E (IgE) levels. Five day cell cultures of participants, unstimulated or stimulated with Phytohaemaglutinnin, Streptokinase, HIV-1 p24 and Ascaris lumbricoides worm antigens were stained with monoclonal antibody-fluorochrome conjugates (Ki67-FITC and CTLA-APC-4). Percentage expression of Ki67 and CTLA-4 was measured to determine cell proliferation and regulation, respectively. Culture supernatants were analysed for the expression of 13 cytokines using the Bioplex (BioRad) system. Kruskal Wallis was used to test for differences in variables between helminth infected subgroups who were either having eggs in stool and high IgE (egg+IgEhi); or eggs in stool and low IgE (egg+IgElo); or no eggs in stool and high IgE (egg-IgEhi) and those without helminth infection (egg-IgElo).


Individuals excreting eggs in stool with high serum IgE (egg+IgEhi phenotype) had potent mitogen responses but consistently produced low, but statistically non-significant antigen-specific (HIV-1 p24 (p = 0.41) and Ascaris (p = 0.19) and recall antigen (Streptokinase; p = 0.31) Ki67 responses. The group also had reduced type 1 cytokines. Individuals excreting eggs in stool with low serum IgE( egg+IgElo phenotype) had a more favourable antiviral profile, characterized by higher IFNγ, IL-2, lower IL-4 and higher IL-10 production.


The findings suggest that dual HIV/helminth infection with egg excretion and/or high Ascaris IgE phenotye may be linked with poor proliferative capacity and deleterious cytokine profile with regards to HIV control.

ZL Mkhize-Kwitshana
ML Mabaso
G Walzl
BMC Infect Dis
Publication Date: 
September, 2014
IBN number: