Assessing Human Alloimmunization as a Strategy for Inducing HIV Type 1 Neutralizing Anti-HLA Responses
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Xenovaccination of rhesus macaques with human HLA Class I and II proteins has been demonstrated to elicit protective immunity against challenge with SIV grown in human cells. To determine if alloimmunization in humans could lead to protective immunity against HIV-1, we prospectively followed a small group of women receiving whole-cell alloimmunization in the form of leukocyte immunotherapy for recurrent spontaneous abortion. Whole-cell vaccine recipients and their respective partners (referred to as donors) provided pre- and postimmune blood samples for analysis. Study participants were HLA typed by sequence-specific PCR and antibodies specific for HLA Class I and II antigens were measured in recipient plasma. To determine if anti-HLA antibody responses detected in recipient plasma samples were capable of neutralizing HIV-1 in vitro, we grew laboratory strain HIV-1(IIIB) and primary isolate HIV-1(301660) in donor-derived CD4(+) T lymphocytes. The ability of purified whole IgG from responding patients to neutralizing infectivity of the respective donor-derived virus was then assayed in vitro. All donor-recipient pairs were determined to be HLA discordant for at least one Class I and one Class II locus. Two of seven female recipients in total made strong anti-HLA antibody responses specific to the HLA haplotype of the male donor in response to the alloimmunization regimen. For one recipient, IgG antibodies specific for donor HLA Class I and II antigens were able to neutralize both HIV-1(IIIB) and a primary isolate HIV-1(301660). In addition polyclonal anti-HLA class II antibodies against a single determinant (DR4) of this donor were also neutralizing. In contrast, the other recipient exhibiting antibodies only against donor HLA Class I antigens did not neutralize HIV-1(IIIB). Using samples from a small number of women undergoing leukocyte immunotherapy, we have demonstrated for the first time that allele-specific anti-HLA antibodies elicited through human alloimmunization are capable of neutralizing HIV-1 in vitro.
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