As the HIV/AIDS pandemic still progresses, understanding the mechanisms governing viral transmission as well as protection from HIV acquisition is fundamental. In this context, cohorts of HIV serodiscordant heterosexual couples (SDC) represent a unique tool. The present study was aimed to evaluate specific parameters of innate, cellular and humoral immune responses in SDC. Specifically, plasma levels of cytokines and chemokines, HIV-specific T-cell responses, gp120-specific IgG and IgA antibodies, and HIV-specific antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) activity were assessed in nine HIV-exposed seronegative individuals (ESN) and their corresponding HIV seropositive partners (HIV+-P), in eighteen chronically infected HIV subjects (C), nine chronically infected subjects known to be HIV transmitters (CT) and ten healthy HIV− donors (HD). Very low magnitude HIV-specific cellular responses were found in two out of six ESN. Interestingly, HIV+-P had the highest ADCC magnitude, the lowest IgA levels and the highest IgG/IgA ratio, all compared to CT. Positive correlations between CD4+ T-cell counts and both IgG/IgA ratios and %ADCC killing uniquely distinguished HIV+-P. Additionally, evidence of IgA interference with ADCC responses from HIV+-P and CT is provided. These data suggest for the first time a potential role of ADCC and/or gp120-specific IgG/IgA balance in modulating heterosexual transmission. In sum, this study provides key information to understand the host factors that influence viral transmission, which should be considered in both the development of prophylactic vaccines and novel immunotherapies for HIV-1 infection.
- HIV-1 transmission
- Serodiscordant couples
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)