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PLoS One. 2007 Jun 20;2(6):e540.

Post-infection immunodeficiency virus control by neutralizing antibodies.

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  • 1International Research Center for Infectious Diseases, Institute of Medical Science, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan; Graduate School of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.



Unlike most acute viral infections controlled with the appearance of virus-specific neutralizing antibodies (NAbs), primary HIV infections are not met with such potent and early antibody responses. This brings into question if or how the presence of potent antibodies can contribute to primary HIV control, but protective efficacies of antiviral antibodies in primary HIV infections have remained elusive; and, it has been speculated that even NAb induction could have only a limited suppressive effect on primary HIV replication once infection is established. Here, in an attempt to answer this question, we examined the effect of passive NAb immunization post-infection on primary viral replication in a macaque AIDS model.


The inoculums for passive immunization with simian immunodeficiency virus mac239 (SIVmac239)-specific neutralizing activity were prepared by purifying polyclonal immunoglobulin G from pooled plasma of six SIVmac239-infected rhesus macaques with NAb induction in the chronic phase. Passive immunization of rhesus macaques with the NAbs at day 7 after SIVmac239 challenge resulted in significant reduction of set-point plasma viral loads and preservation of central memory CD4 T lymphocyte counts, despite the limited detection period of the administered NAb responses. Peripheral lymph node dendritic cell (DC)-associated viral RNA loads showed a remarkable peak with the NAb administration, and DCs stimulated in vitro with NAb-preincubated SIV activated virus-specific CD4 T lymphocytes in an Fc-dependent manner, implying antibody-mediated virion uptake by DCs and enhanced T cell priming.


Our results present evidence indicating that potent antibody induction post-infection can result in primary immunodeficiency virus control and suggest direct and indirect contribution of its absence to initial control failure in HIV infections. Although difficulty in achieving requisite neutralizing titers for sterile HIV protection by prophylactic vaccination has been suggested, this study points out a possibility of non-sterile HIV control by prophylactic vaccine-induced, sub-sterile titers of NAbs post-infection, providing a rationale of vaccine-based NAb induction for primary HIV control.

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