Possible role of natural cytotoxic activity in the pathogenesis of AIDS

Talia Hahn, Ami Schattner, Zeev T. Handzel, Stanley Levin, Zvi Bentwich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


In an attempt to assess the role of immune cytotoxic activity in the sequence of events leading to the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), natural cytotoxic activity was studied in 17 asymptomatic homosexual males, seropositive for anti-human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) antibodies, as compared to 16 of their seronegative counterparts and to 14 control healthy heterosexual individuals. Cell (contact)-mediated cytotoxicity (CMC) as well as cytotoxin (CTX) production by lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated, phytohemagglutinin (PHA)-stimulated, HeLa tumor cell-stimulated, and unstimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) were determined using HeLa cell monolayer cultures, sensitized with cycloheximide, as targets. The CMC was markedly enhanced in the seropositive group (28 ± 21 (mean ± SD) lytic units/106 PBMC) as compared to the seronegative group (17 ± 7; P < 0.005) and to the heterosexual group (13 ± 6; P < 0.05). Likewise, CTX production by unstimulated PBMC from seropositive homosexuals (19 ± 26 units/ml) was higher than that observed in the other groups (both 4 ± 4 units/ml; P < 0.05). CTX production by PHA-stimulated, LPS-stimulated, and HeLa cell-stimulated PBMC was significantly enhanced in both the seropositive and seronegative groups in comparison to the normal heterosexual controls. These results suggest that increased cytotoxic activity may be present in homosexuals prior to their exposure to HIV, and may be further enhanced after HIV infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-61
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Immunology and Immunopathology
Issue number1 PART 1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Immunology


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