High Maternal HIV-1 Viral Load During Pregnancy Is Associated With Reduced Placental Transfer of Measles IgG Antibody


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Abstract

Background:Studies among HIV-1-infected women have demonstrated reduced placental transfer of IgG antibodies against measles and other pathogens. As a result, infants born to women with HIV-1 infection may not acquire adequate passive immunity in utero and this could contribute to high infant morbidity and mortality in this vulnerable population.Methods:To determine factors associated with decreased placental transfer of measles IgG, 55 HIV-1-infected pregnant women who were enrolled in a Nairobi perinatal HIV-1 transmission study were followed. Maternal CD4 count, HIV-1 viral load, and HIV-1-specific gp41 antibody concentrations were measured antenatally and at delivery. Measles IgG concentrations were assayed in maternal blood and infant cord blood obtained during delivery to calculate placental antibody transfer.Results:Among 40 women (73%) with positive measles titers, 30 (75%) were found to have abnormally low levels of maternofetal IgG transfer (<95%). High maternal HIV-1 viral load at 32 weeks' gestation and at delivery was associated with reductions in placental transfer (P < 0.0001 and P = 0.0056, respectively) and infant measles IgG concentrations in cord blood (P < 0.0001 and P = 0.0073, respectively). High maternal HIV-1-specific gp41 antibody titer was also highly correlated with both decreased placental transfer (P = 0.0080) and decreased infant IgG (P < 0.0001).Conclusions:This is the first study to evaluate the relationship between maternal HIV-1 viremia, maternal HIV-1 antibody concentrations, and passive immunity among HIV-1-exposed infants. These data support the hypothesis that high HIV-1 viral load during the last trimester may impair maternofetal transfer of IgG and increases risk of measles and other serious infections among HIV-1-exposed infants.

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