Decreased levels of total and reduced glutathione in CD4+ lymphocytes in common variable immunodeficiency are associated with activation of the tumor necrosis factor system: possible immunopathogenic role of oxidative stress.
Blood. 1995 Aug 15;86(4):1383-91. PMID: 7632946
Medical Department A, University of Oslo, National Hospital, Norway.
We have previously shown chronic immune activation and enhanced generation of reactive oxygen species in common variable immunodeficiency (CVI). In the present study, we examined levels of glutathione, the dominant intracellular thiol, that play an important protective role against oxidative and inflammatory stress in plasma and in monocytes and lymphocyte subsets in 20 CVI patients and in 16 healthy controls. CD4+ lymphocytes from CVI patients had significantly lower levels of both total and reduced glutathione as well as a lower ratio of reduced to total glutathione compared with healthy controls. This decrease in glutathione levels in CD4+ lymphocytes was most pronounced in the CD45RA+ subset. Plasma levels of total glutathione were also significantly decreased in CVI. In contrast, monocytes from CVI patients exhibited increased levels of both total and reduced glutathione compared with blood donor monocytes. CVI patients had significantly raised serum levels of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF alpha) and TNF alpha concentration was strongly associated with glutathione depletion in CD4+ lymphocytes. Furthermore, the lowest levels of both total and reduced glutathione were found in a subgroup of CVI patients characterized by persistent immune activation in vivo, decreased numbers of CD4+ lymphocytes in peripheral blood, and splenomegaly. Finally, supplementation of cell cultures with glutathione-monoethyl ester did significantly enhance interleukin-2 production from peripheral blood mononuclear cells in CVI patients. These glutathione abnormalities in CVI indicate increased oxidative stress, particularly in CD4+ lymphocytes, and intracellular depletion of reduced glutathione of the demonstrated magnitude may have profound implications for CD4+ lymphocyte function and the immunodeficiency in CVI.