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IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8 and TNF-α production by PMNL from 21 HIV-infected (HIV+), including 11 full-blown AIDS, and 20 HIV-uninfected (HIV-) subjects (matched for age and sex to HIV+ ones) was studied by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and ELISA. PMNL from both categories of subjects were strongly stimulated in their actual cytokine production by a mannoprotein fraction (MP-F2) of Candida albicans, as well as by the bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS). These stimulatory effects were apparently due to increased cytokine gene expression and were substantially reversed by the physiological inhibitor IL-10. However, PMNL from HIV+ subjects showed increased IL-6 and TNF-α gene expression and produced more IL-6 and TNF-α than PMNL from HIV- controls, under similar stimulation conditions. This difference could not be attributed to a given stage of HIV infection, any associated medication, or to a generalized increase of gene expression, as quantitatively similar β-actin and IL-1β transcripts were detected. Moreover, no significant difference in IL-8 production by the PMNL from HIV+ and HIV- subjects was observed. Our studies suggest that PMNL from HIV+ subjects might add to other cellular sources of IL-6 and TNF-α (e.g. monocytes-macrophages) in contributing to the cytokine-dysregulated pattern typical of the HIV+ patient.