Strong correlation between the complement-mediated antibody-dependent enhancement of HIV-1 infection and plasma viral load


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Abstract

Objective: We have previously demonstrated that complement-mediated antibody-dependent enhancement (C-ADE) of HIV-1 infection correlates with accelerated immunosuppression and disease progression in HIV-1-infected individuals. In the present work the relationship between C-ADE and plasma HIV-1 RNA concentrations was studied to determine the effect of C-ADE on viral replication.Methods:Three studies were performed: (a) C-ADE and HIV-1 RNA concentrations were determined in the serum and plasma aliquots taken at the same time from 98 HIV patients, mostly in the advanced stage of the disease; (b) the above two parameters as well as HIV enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)-reactive antibodies (Abbott HIV 1/2 test), and p24 antigen levels (Abbott antigen test; Abbott, Delkenheim, Germany) were determined in four seroconversion panels purchased from the Boston Biomedica firm; (c) changes of HIV-1 RNA concentration and _C-ADE during a 17 month follow-up period were determined in 18 HIV-infected patients. C-ADE was measured by the method previously established in our laboratories. The results were expressed by an enhancement/neutralization index (E/NI). HIV-1 RNA levels were determined with the Amplicor monitor kit (Roche, Basel, Switzerland), and in some experiments with the nucleic acid sequence based amplification (Organon Teknika, Turnhout, Belgium) kits.Results: (a) We found a highly significant (P_<_0.0001) positive correlation between E/NI values reflecting the extent of HIV-1 infection enhancement and plasma HIV-1 RNA levels. Both E/NI and HIV-1 RNA levels negatively correlated to the CD4 cell counts. (b) C-ADE was first detected just before, or concomitantly with, seroconversion in 4/4 seroconversion panels. (c) Both E/NI values and HIV-1 RNA levels significantly (P_<_0.001) increased during a 17 month observation period in 18 HIV-infected patients.Conclusion: We found strong association between the extent of the complement-mediated antibody-dependent enhancement of HIV-1 infection and the plasma viral load in HIV patients. On the basis of these findings, C-ADE correlates with HIV replication in vivo, and potentially contributes to the progression of HIV disease.

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