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Neopterin, a biochemical marker for the activation of cell-mediated immune reactions, was determined in serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from patients infected with HIV-1. A significant correlation was found between serum and CSF neopterin concentrations, although concentrations of neopterin in serum were more closely correlated with the clinical severity of HIV-1 infection than those in CSF. However, higher CSF levels were observed in patients with neurologic/psychiatric symptoms than in unaffected patients. Also, quotients of CSF neopterin versus serum neopterin concentrations were increased, indicating intrathecal production of neopterin. Positive HIV-1 isolation from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) was associated with higher neopterin concentrations in serum, when compared with negative HIV-1 isolation.Neopterin in CSF appears to be a suitable biochemical marker in patients with HIV-1 infection for detecting overt neurologic/psychiatric disturbances. The data suggest that in HIV-1 infected patients, cell-mediated immune reactions might be activated intrathecally and might contribute to neuropsychiatric disease.