The vaginal and cervical epithelia provide an initial barrier to sexually acquired HIV-1 infection in women. To study the interactions between HIV-1-infected cells or cell-free HIV-1 and the reproductive epithelium, the transmission of HIV-1 by infected cells or cell-free virus across human cervical epithelial cells was examined using a Transwell culture system. Cell-associated HIV-1 was transmitted more efficiently than cell-free virus, and monocyte-associated virus was transmitted most efficiently. Abs to ICAM-1 added to the apical side of the epithelium blocked cell-mediated transepithelial HIV-1 transmission in vitro. When used in a previously described model of vaginal HIV-1 transmission in human PBL-SCID mice, anti-murine ICAM-1 Abs (0.4 μg/10 μl) also blocked vaginal transmission of cell-associated HIV-1 in vivo. To evaluate a candidate delivery system for the use of this Ab as an anti-HIV-1 microbicide, anti-ICAM single-chain variable fragment Abs secreted by transformed lactobacilli were evaluated for their protective efficacy in the Transwell model. Like the intact Ab and Fab derived from it, the single-chain variable fragment at a concentration of 6.7 μg/100 μl was able to reduce HIV-1 transmission by 70 ± 5%. These data support the potential efficacy of an anti-ICAM Ab delivered by lactobacilli for use as an anti-HIV-1 microbicide.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy