In vitro effects of thymosin and lithium on lymphoproliferative responses of normal donors and HIV seropositive male homosexuals with AIDS-related complex

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Clinical Immunology and Immunopathology








The in vitro effects of thymosin fraction 5 (TF5) and lithium chloride (LiCl) on the ability of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) obtained from 37 normal male donors and 33 male patients with AIDS-related complex (ARC) to respond to alloantigenic stimulation (mixed leukocyte reaction, MLR) and to produce interleukin 2 (IL-2) in response to mitogens were studied. TF5 significantly increased MLR responses in normal donors (P < 0.01) and in a group of 33 ARC patients with depressed cellular immunity (P < 0.05). Similar effects were observed when LiCl was added to the MLR assays in both the normal and the ARC patient groups. Furthermore, TF5 and LiCl exhibited additive immunoenhancing properties. In 10 normal donors TF5 enhanced phytohemaggutinin (PHA)-induced IL-2 production as well as IL-2 production in response to pokeweed mitogen (PWM) (P < 0.02). TF5-mediated enhancement of IL-2 production by PBMC obtained from ARC patients was observed in response to both mitogens, i.e., PHA and PWM. Additionally, LiCl increased PHA-induced IL-2 production in both normal subjects and ARC patients. LiCl and TF5 together had an additive effect in the enhancement of IL-2 production in both groups of subjects. Our data extend previous observations regarding the immunoregulatory activities of TF5 and LiCl and provide evidence that PBMC obtained from ARC patients have the potential to respond in vitro to these agents. The significance of these findings is discussed. © 1987.