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J Infect. 1999 Nov;39(3):213-20.

Maternal humoral factors associated with perinatal human immunodeficiency virus type-1 transmission in a cohort from Kigali, Rwanda, 1988-1994.

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  • 1Virus des hépatites, rétrovirus humain et pathologies associées (Unité 271) INSERM, Lyon, France.



to study different parameters of humoral immunity responses in the serum of 39 human immunodeficiency virus type-1 infected pregnant women from Kigali, (Rwanda) in correlation with perinatal transmission.


this study was done between 1988 and 1994. Thirty nine HIV-1 infected women, 18 transmitting (T) and 21 non-transmitting (NT) mothers, have been chosen based on the quantity of sera available for analysis. Maternal data were collected at the time of delivery or during the preceding month. Quantification of viral load was performed by the signal amplification bDNA assay. Specific reactivity of antibody was tested against recombinant p24 protein and five different synthetic peptides from gp120 and gp41 based on HIV LAI-strain sequences. Neutralization assays were performed against laboratory (RII strain of the HIV-1 C subtype) and primary strains (two NSI and one SI of the HIV-1 A subtype). Antibody Dependent Cellular Cytotoxicity assay was performed with CEM.NK(R) cells against a laboratory HIV-1 strain.


absence of correlation regarding maternal viral load, or viral subtype and vertical transmission was observed. By contrast, the CD4/CD8 ratio was significantly higher in non-transmitting mothers compared to transmitting mothers. Moreover, high anti-p24 antibody avidity was correlated with a lower risk of perinatal transmission. Furthermore, transmission risk appeared significantly higher with reactivity of serum samples to linear epitopes of gp41 (amino acids 566-582, 578-594), whereas risk appeared lower with reactivity to the immunodominant domain of gp41 (amino acids 597-609). No significant difference was observed in titres of antibody neutralizing primary isolates (two NSI (non syncitium inducer) and one SI (syncitium inducer) of the HIV-1 A subtype) and laboratory strain (RII strain, of the HIV-1 C subtype) between transmitting and non-transmitting mother's sera. In addition, titres of Antibody Dependent Cellular Cytotoxicity were similar in transmitting versus non-transmitting mothers. However, high Antibody Dependent Cellular Cytotoxicity titres were correlated with a good clinical status of children.


three parameters such as high CD4/CD8 ratio, high anti-p24 antibody avidity and high reactivity against the immunodominant epitope of gp41 have been shown to be correlated with no perinatal transmission. High Antibody Dependent Cellular Cytotoxicity titres appeared to be linked to a good clinical status of children after birth. One parameter, reactivity against two linear epitopes of gp41, appeared to be correlated with vertical transmission.

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