Rapid decrease of plasma galectin-9 levels in patients with acute HIV infection after therapy

Hiroki Saitoh, Yugo Ashino, Haorile Chagan-Yasutan, Toshiro Niki, Mitsuomi Hirashima, Toshio Hattori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Acute HIV-1 infection is often diagnosed as infectious mononucleosis and the symptoms resolve spontaneously after varying periods of time. After the infection of HIV-1 through the mucosa, the characteristic clinical symptoms and laboratory markers of acute HIV-1 infection appear in each patient through a complicated virus-host interaction. To understand the host responses, we measured two unique proinflammatory cytokines, galectin-9 (Gal-9) and osteopontin (OPN). A β -galactoside-binding mammalian lectin, Gal-9, reduces pro-inflammatory type-1 helper T (Th1) cells and Th17 cells and increases anti-inflammatory regulatory T cells. The plasma level of Gal-9 is known to be associated with HIV-1 viral load in chronic HIV-1 infection. On the contrary, osteopontin induces Th1/Th17 cells and promotes tissue inflammation. OPN is synthesized by variety of cells in the body, and dendritic cells are known to synthesize OPN in HIV-1 infected individuals. It was hypothesized that Gal-9 and/or OPN could be not only immune-modulators but also novel biomarkers of acute HIV-1 infection. We experienced 3 patients with acute HIV-1 and measured the levels of Gal-9 and OPN periodically before and after antiretroviral treatment. The results showed that the plasma levels of Gal-9 were extremely elevated [more than 2,300 pg/ml (normal range < 46 pg/ml)] in all three acute HIV-1 infected individuals and decreased rapidly after treatment. The changes in the OPN levels were less marked. In conclusion, the plasma levels of Gal-9 may be predictive of a severe inflammation status during the acute phase of HIV-1 infection and could be a potential biomarker during acute infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-161
Number of pages5
JournalTohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Acute HIV-1
  • CMV
  • Galectin-9
  • HBV
  • Osteopontin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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