The expression of HLA-DR (a class II histocompatibility antigen) on monocytes isolated from the peripheral blood of normal individuals and patients with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) was investigated by the use of dual fluorescent staining and cytofluorometry. In animal models the absence of class II positive monocytes is linked to a failure of T cells to respond to antigens. We now report that patients with AIDS have a paucity of HLA-DR+ monocytes. The percentage of HLA-DR+ monocytes among eight normal individuals ranged from 49.3 to 95.0%+, and only one individual had less than 50% HLA-DR+ monocytes. HLA-DR expression on monocytes from homosexual male patients with lymphadenopathy was similar to that of normal subjects (range, 58.0 to 97.4%+). In contrast, seven of nine patients with AIDS had less than 50% HLA-DR+ monocytes (range, 13.4 to 78.8%+). The in vitro incubation of monocytes from AIDS patients with cloned human interferon-gamma resulted in an increase of the expression of HLA-DR to near normal levels.


W Heagy, V E Kelley, T B Strom, K Mayer, H M Shapiro, R Mandel, R Finberg


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