, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 950–955 | Cite as

Expression of CXCL2 in the Serum and Cerebrospinal Fluid of Patients with HIV and Syphilis or Neurosyphilis

  • Hung-Chin Tsai
  • Shin-Yu Ye
  • Susan Shin-Jung Lee
  • Shue-Ren Wann
  • Yao-Shen Chen


The potential mechanisms for blood–brain barrier damage and the diagnosis of neurosyphilis in HIV patients co-infected with syphilis (HIV-S) are unclear. The aim of the study was to determine the expression of CXCL2 in the serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of HIV-S patients. A total of 34 HIV patients and 7 controls were enrolled in a HIV clinical cohort for diagnosis of neurosyphilis in Taiwan. Serum and CSF concentrations of CXCL2 were determined by ELISA. Neurosyphilis was defined as a CSF white blood cell count of ≧20 cells/μl or a reactive CSF Venereal Disease Research Laboratory (VDRL). Demographics and medical histories were collected. All the patients with HIV-S were males. Most (80 %) had sex with men (MSM) and serum rapid plasma reagin (RPR) titers of ≧1:32. The medium age was 37 (range 21–68) years. The medium CD4 T cell counts at the time of the diagnosis of syphilis were 299 (range 92–434) cells/μl. Eight patients (24 %) had neurosyphilis based on a reactive CSF VDRL test (n = 5) or increased CSF white blood cell counts of ≧20 cells/μl (n = 3). The concentrations of CSF CXCL2 were significantly higher in patients with HIV and neurosyphilis as compared to HIV with syphilis, HIV, and controls (p = 0.012). There were no significant differences in serum concentrations between the four groups. There was a correlation between CSF CXCL2 concentrations with neurosyphilis (p = 0.017), CSF white blood cell count (p = 0.001), and CSF protein levels (p = 0.005). The CSF level of CXCL2 can be used to distinguish those with or without neurosyphilis in HIV infected patients.


acquire immunodeficiency syndrome chemokine CXCL2 neurosyphilis 



This work was supported by a Summer Medical Student Research Program, from the Medical Foundation in Memory of Dr. Deh-Lin Cheng and also from the Yen Tjing Ling Medical Foundation.

Conflicts of interest

The authors report no financial conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Section of Infectious Diseases, Department of MedicineKaohsiung Veterans General HospitalKaohsiungRepublic of China
  2. 2.National Yang-Ming UniversityTaipeiRepublic of China
  3. 3.Department of MedicineNational Taiwan University HospitalTaipeiRepublic of China

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