Background. The time to acquisition of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infection following low-dose repeated rectal challenge correlated inversely with the number of transmitted/founder strains among macaques vaccinated with ALVAC-SIV/gp120 or gp120 alone. We determined if the ability of postvaccination, prechallenge sera to enhance SIVmac251 transcytosis across epithelial cells was associated with transmitted/founder strain number.
Methods. Transcytosis was carried out by exposing sera and SIVmac251 to the apical surface of human endometrial carcinoma (HEC-1A) cells at pH 6.0 and 12 hours later quantifying virus in fluid bathing the basolateral cell surface (maintained at pH 7.4). These conditions allow Fc neonatal receptor (FcRn)-dependent shuttling of virus across cells.
Results. There was a strong correlation between the amount of virus transcytosed and number of transmitted variants (R = 0.86, P < .0001). We also found that 4 animals who remained uninfected after repeated rectal challenges had lower serum transcytosis activity than did 19 animals who subsequently became infected (P = .003). Using immunohistochemistry, we demonstrated FcRn on columnar epithelial cells facing the lumen of the macaque rectum.
Conclusions. Vaccine-induced antibody capable of enhancing transcytosis in vitro via FcRn may play a role in determining transmitted/founder strain number and infection outcomes following in vivo challenge.