In vitro immunomodulatory properties of tucaresol in HIV infection.

Research paper by M M Clerici, M M Cogliati, G G Rizzardini, F F Colombo, S S Fossati, J J Rhodes, D D Bray, S S Piconi

Indexed on: 09 Dec '00Published on: 09 Dec '00Published in: Clinical Immunology


The immunomodulatory properties of tucaresol (compound 589C80) were tested on in vitro antigen- and mitogen-stimulated proliferation and cytokine production by peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) of HIV-infected individuals and healthy controls (HC). Results showed that tucaresol: (1) increases influenza A virus-, gp 160 peptide-, and HLA alloantigen-stimulated proliferation as well as interleukin (IL)-2 and interferon gamma (IFN gamma) production by PBMC of HIV-infected individuals with higher CD4 counts (>500/microl) but had only a marginal immunomodulatory effect on PBMC of patients with lower CD4 counts (<500/microl); (2) did not modify IL-10 production; (3) augmented CD25 expression on mitogen-stimulated T cells of HC but not of HIV-infected individuals; and (4) marginally increased CTL activity. The immunomodulatory properties of tucaresol were confirmed by PCR analyses; additional data showed that tucaresol costimulated CD3-dependent triggering of T cells and that this stimulation was independent of CD28 costimulation. The immunomodulatory effects of tucaresol on T cell functions are characterized by a bell-shaped dose response curve; the action of the compound is optimal in the 100 to 300 microM range. Analyses of mitogen-stimulated apoptosis demonstrated that the lack of effect of tucaresol at higher doses is not the result of increased cell death, suggesting a role of functional impairment. These data confirm that tucaresol can stimulate T helper cell function and enhance the production of type 1 cytokines, thus eliciting cell-mediated immunity, and warrant its potential utility in the therapy of HIV infection.