Antibody (Ab)-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) is thought to potentially play a role in vaccine-induced protection from HIV-1. The characteristics of such antibodies remain incompletely understood. Furthermore, correlates between ADCC and HIV-1 immune status are not clearly defined. We screened the sera of 20 HIV-1-positive (HIV-1 +) patients for ADCC. Normal human peripheral blood mononuclear cells were used to derive HIV-infected CD4 + T cell targets and autologous, freshly isolated, natural killer (NK) cells in a novel assay that measures granzyme B (GrB) and HIV-1-infected CD4 + T cell elimination (ICE) by flow cytometry. We observed that complex sera mediated greater levels of ADCC than anti-HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (Env)-specific monoclonal antibodies and serum-mediated ADCC correlated with the amount of IgG and IgG1 bound to HIV-1-infected CD4 + T cells. No correlation between ADCC and viral load, CD4 + T cell count, or neutralization of HIV-1SF162 or other primary viral isolates was detected. Sera pooled from clade B HIV-1 + individuals exhibited breadth in killing targets infected with HIV-1 from clades A/E, B, and C. Taken together, these data suggest that the total amount of IgG bound to an HIV-1-infected cell is an important determinant of ADCC and that polyvalent antigen-specific Abs are required for a robust ADCC response. In addition, Abs elicited by a vaccine formulated with immunogens from a single clade may generate a protective ADCC response in vivo against a variety of HIV-1 species. Increased understanding of the parameters that dictate ADCC against HIV-1-infected cells will inform efforts to stimulate ADCC activity and improve its potency in vaccinees.
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