Activation of NK Cells by ADCC Antibodies and HIV Disease Progression

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Antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) is of considerable interest as an immune response that may facilitate the control of HIV infection. We studied ADCC responses prospectively in a cohort of 79 HIV-positive subjects followed up for a mean of 2.3 years without antiretroviral therapy. We used a novel assay of the ability of ADCC to activate natural killer (NK) cells, either from the same HIV-positive subject or from a healthy blood donor. We found that ADCC responses to either gp140 Env protein or HIV peptide pools were common in HIV-positive subjects when NK cells from the HIV-positive subject were used but did not correlate with markers of HIV disease progression. In contrast, ADCC responses to whole gp140 Env protein were strongly associated with a slower decline in CD4 T-cell loss when healthy donor NK cells were used as effectors. Our data had implications for induction of the most effective ADCC responses by HIV vaccines.

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