Plasma lactoferrin levels are decreased in end-stage AIDS patients

BWA Van der Strate*, MC Harmsen, TH The, HG Sprenger, H de Vries, MC Eikelboom, ME Kuipers, DKF Meijer, PJ Swart

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


The antimicrobial protein lactoferrin (Lf) is present in plasma and in mucosal secretions. Using ELISA we analysed plasma and saliva of HIV-infected patients, patients with AIDS, and healthy controls for the presence of secreted Lf. The plasma Lf levels of AIDS patients (classification C3) were significantly lower (p <0.001) as compared to asymptomatic and symptomatic HIV infected patients, or controls. In addition, plasma Lf levels closely correlated with neutrophilic granulocyte counts in the HIV-infected patients. Thus, basal plasma Lf levels are likely the result of Lf release by neutrophilic granulocytes. The Candida titres present in the oral cavity were determined in a part of the HIV-infected patient group, As it appeared, the presence of this opportunistic pathogen always coincided with low levels of salivary Lf levels. We conclude that Lf, as part of the nonspecific immune system, might play an important role in the first line of defense against opportunistic microbial infections in AIDS patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-203
Number of pages7
JournalViral Immunology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1999



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