Plasma IP-10 Concentrations Correlate Positively with Viraemia and Inversely with CD4 Counts in Untreated HIV Infection

Kudakwashe Mhandire1, 4, *, §, Tommy Mlambo2, *, Lynn Sodai Zijenah2, Kerina Duri2, Kudzaishe Mateveke6, Mqondisi Tshabalala2, Doreen Zvipo Mhandire1, 4, Cuthbert Musarurwa1, Petronella Taonga Wekare3, Lovemore Ronald Mazengera2, Hilda Tendisa Matarira1, Babill Stray-Pedersen4, 5
1 Department of Chemical Pathology, University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe
2 Department of Immunology, University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe
3 Medical Laboratory Sciences, University of Zimbabwe, College of Health Sciences, Harare, Zimbabwe
4 Letten Foundation Research House, Harare, Zimbabwe
5 Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo and Womens’ Clinic, Rikshospitalet, University Hospital, Oslo, Norway
6 Research Support Centre, University of Zimbabwe, College of Health Sciences, Harare, Zimbabwe

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© 2017 Mhandire et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* These authors contributed equally§ Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Chemical Pathology, College of Health Sciences, University of Zimbabwe, Mazowe Street, Harare; Cell: +263 773 578 505; Emails:;



Chronic immune activation is a feature of HIV infection associated with accelerated HIV disease progression. There is conflicting data on the association of biomarkers of immune activation with traditional markers of HIV disease progression; CD4 counts and viral load (VL).


The study aimed to determine the association of biomarkers of immune activation; interferon (IFN)-γ-induced protein 10 (IP-10) and soluble cluster of differentiation 14 (sCD14) in chronic HIV infection with traditional markers of HIV disease progression.


We collected demographic data, enumerated CD4 counts and quantified VL in 183 antiretroviral therapy (ART)-naive adults with chronic HIV infection. Plasma concentrations of IP-10 and sCD14 were quantified in the ART-naive adults with chronic HIV infection and 75 HIV-uninfected controls.


IP-10 concentrations were significantly higher in the HIV-infected group (median; 257.40pg/ml, IQR; 174.08-376.32) than in the HIV-uninfected (median; 86.19pg/ml, IQR; 67.70-116.39) (P<0.001). Similarly, sCD14 concentrations were significantly higher in the HIV-infected (median; 1.45µg/ml, IQR; 1.02-2.16) group than in the controls (median; 0.89µ/ml, IQR; 0.74-1.18) (P<0.001). High log10 IP-10 concentrations were positively correlated with high log10 viral loads (Spearman’s correlation coefficient [R]=0.21, P=0.003) and inversely correlated with low CD4 counts (R= -0.19, P=0.011). In contrast, log10 sCD14 was not significantly associated with either log10 viral loads (R=0.03, P=0.707) nor CD4 count (R=-0.04, P=0.568).


We conclude that plasma sCD14 and IP-10 were elevated in the HIV-infected patients compared to HIV-uninfected individuals possibly due to on-going immune activation. In addition, plasma high concentrations of IP-10 but not sCD14 concentrations are associated with high VL and low CD4 count.

Keywords: Immune activation, sCD14, IP-10, CD4 count, Viral load, Zimbabwean.