Why IL-2 Works in HIV
HIV infection decreases the number of CD4+ T lymphocytes and this increases the risk of infection. Administration of IL-2 to HIV-infected people can boost CD4 cell number, but the mechanisms underlying this were not clear.
In a study appearing online on July 14 in advance of print publication of the August 1 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Joseph Kovacs and colleagues from the NIH use cutting-edge in vivo labeling techniques to show that intermittent administration of IL-2 to HIV-infected patients induces a high level of proliferation of both CD4 and CD8 cells, followed by a remarkably prolonged survival of only the CD4 cells.
These results help explain the preferential CD4 cell increases seen in patients receiving intermittent IL-2 therapy and provide new insight into the biological activities of exogenously administered IL-2.
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