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January 4, 1985

β2-Microglobulin and the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome in a Low-Incidence Area

JAMA. 1985;253(1):43-44. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03350250051019

To the Editor.—  The article by Zolla-Pazner et al1 impressively demonstrates the value of a simple determination—β2M in serum—as a useful adjunct to the diagnosis of AIDS and for evaluating early suspected cases and members of populations at risk. The authors point out that increased serum β2M levels are by no means specific to AIDS and can be found in various other diseases, notably autoimmune diseases and viral infections. However, they fail to consider the possible significance of interferon, levels of which often are increased in these conditions as well2,3 and may be causally related to the elevated β2M levels observed.Interferons are now known to have varied and extensive immunomodulatory effects. Important among them is a marked and rapid increase of the surface histocompatibility antigens and of their subunit—the β2M.4 β2-Microglobulin has been shown to increase