We studied the relationship between early human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) specific immune responses and pathogenesis of infection in participants enrolled in the multicenter AIDS cohort study (MACS). Sera collected at 6-month intervals for 2 years (visit 1–5) from 39 persons who seroconverted by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) 6 months (visit 2) after enrollment were examined for isotype-specific Western blot reactivity, neutralizing antibodies (NA) against two divergent strains of HIV-1 (HIV-1IIIB and HIV-1RF), and for antibodies capable of participating in antibody-dependent, cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC). These results were compared with changes in CD4+ cell number and episodes of lymphadenopathy. Twenty-five subjects had antibodies of at least one isotype reactive to at least one HIV-1 protein by Western blot at visit 1, before they became ELISA positive. NA reactive with HIV-1mB were detected before those reactive with HIV-1RF. NA were first observed in 11 sera at visit 2, in 22 sera at visit 3, and in 3 sera at visit 4; sera from three patients remained nonneutralizing through visit 5. In most cases, NA were detected after a decline in CD4+ cell numbers. The data are consistent with the interpretation that NA develop after about 16 to 18 months of declining CD4+ cell numbers, following which the rate of decline in CD4+ cell numbers slows. In contrast, HIV-1 envelope antigen-specific ADCC responses were first observed in 11 subjects at visit 1 when all 39 were NA and ELISA negative, in 12 subjects at visit 2, in 13 subjects at visit 3, and 1 subject at visit 4. Early ADCC responses were associated with high mean%CD4+ cell numbers and absence of lymphadenopathy throughout the 2-year observation period. Not all subjects who developed ADCC developed NA. In some subjects, ADCC and NA were detectable for the first time at the same visit, for others ADCC was detectable prior to NA, and for a few NA was detectable prior to ADCC. These findings suggest that ADCC and neutralization are mediated by different antibody populations, that they may partially inhibit the progress of HIV-1 infection, and that the late appearance of NA may relate to the failure of immunity to effect recovery from this infection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases