Data_Sheet_1_High APRIL Levels Are Associated With Slow Disease Progression and Low Immune Activation in Chronic HIV-1-Infected Patients.pdf
Objective: B-cell-activating factor (BAFF) has been determined to be involved in HIV-1 infection and is correlated with disease progression, while its homologous molecule, a proliferation-inducing ligand (APRIL), is less frequently reported, and its role remains unclear. We aimed to characterize the APRIL levels in subjects with different HIV-1 infection statuses and determine the relationships with disease progression and immune activation.
Methods: The plasma levels of APRIL were compared among 17 long-term non-progressors (LTNPs), 17 typical progressors (TPs), 10 ART-treated patients, and 10 healthy donors (HDs). Seventeen LTNPs and a subset of TPs (n = 6) who initiated ART were assessed longitudinally. The correlations between the APRIL levels and markers of disease progression, B-cell count and specific antibody response, and markers of immune activation and functional cells were analyzed.
Results: The circulating APRIL levels were significantly elevated in the LTNPs relative to the TPs, ART-treated patients, and HDs. The longitudinal investigation revealed that the APRIL levels were decreased during follow-up in the LTNPs. ART did not significantly influence the APRIL levels. The levels of plasma APRIL were negatively correlated with the plasma HIV-1 viral load and cellular HIV-1 DNA levels and positively correlated with the CD4+ T-cell count and CD4/CD8 ratio. An inverse correlation was observed between the APRIL and BAFF levels. Furthermore, the APRIL levels were negatively correlated with the frequency of activated CD8+ T cells and levels of interferon gamma-induced protein 10 (IP-10) and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1). Finally, positive correlations were observed among the APRIL levels, the frequency of CD8+CD28+ T cells, and natural killer (NK) cell count.
Conclusion: The APRIL levels were elevated in the LTNPs and negatively correlated with disease progression and immune activation, suggesting likely protective activity in HIV-1 infection.
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