SH levels alone are predictors of AIDS and mortality 7 September 2004
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Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos,
Department of Medical Physics, Royal Perth Hospital, Western Australia, 6001,
Valendar F Turner, John Papadimitriou, Barry Page, David Causer, Helman Alfonso, Sam Mhlongo, Todd Miller, Christian Fiala

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Re: SH levels alone are predictors of AIDS and mortality

SH levels alone are predictors of AIDS and mortality

In his rapid response, "Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The non-existent knobs on "HIV" particles", Christopher Noble wrote: "Can you use the glutathione levels ALONE to predict who has a high probability of developing AIDS defining illnesses?"

Yes, you can.

"This study shows that lymphocyte concentration of both glutathione and cysteine are substantially decreased in individuals infected with HIV…"Thiol depletion also can cause the dysfunction of immune cells such as lymphocytes, resulting in compromised immunological response to opportunistic infections and tumour development".1

"Conclusions: Among HIV-infected persons, low serum thiols, especially in concert with a history of AIDS, predict mortality risk. These findings support the hypothesis that oxidative stress is critical to the pathogenesis of HIV infection.2

"HIV-infected people tend to have subnormal GSH levels in plasma, lung, epithelial lining fluid (1), peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and….in individual CD4 T and other blood cells…Clinical studies presented here directly link GSH deficiency to impaired survival in HIV disease. We show that (i) the probability that HIV-infected subjects will die within 2-3 years is dramatically higher at low baseline CD4 T cell GSH levels; (ii) oral administration of N-acetylcysteine (NAC), a cysteine prodrug used to replenish GSH after acetaminophen overdose, increases GSH levels in HIV-infected subjects; and (iii) this GSH replenishment may be associated with prolongation of survival. Because excessive alcohol consumption, UV exposure, and prolonged or intensive use of medications that deplete GSH – e.g. acetaminophen overdose – can contribute to the GSH depletion in HIV disease, we discuss our findings in terms of changes in medical practice that could slow the development of GSH deficiency and improve survival in HIV disease".3

No mention of our oxidation theory of AIDS or our evidence that individuals belonging to the AIDS risk groups are repeatedly exposed to strong oxidising agents such as IV drugs, semen, nitrites, factor VIII.


1. Walmsley SL, Winn LM, Harrison ML, Uetrecht JP, Wells PG. Oxidative stress and thiol depletion in plasma and peripheral blood lymphocytes from HIV-infected patients: toxicological and pathological implications. AIDS 1997;11:1689-97.

2. Marmor M, Alcabes P, Titus S, Frenkel K, Krasinski K, Penn A, et al. Low serum thiol levels predict shorter times-to-death among HIV-infected injecting drug users. AIDS 1997;11:1389-93.

3. Herzenberg LA, De Rosa SC, Dubs JG, Roederer M, Anderson MT, Ela SW, et al. Glutathione deficiency is associated with impaired survival in HIV disease. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 1997;94:1967-72.

Competing interests: None declared