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J Intern Med. 2007 Jul;262(1):5-25.

Humoral immunity to HIV-1: neutralization and beyond.

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Division of Infectious Diseases, University Hospital Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.


Humoral immunity is considered a key component of effective vaccines against HIV-1. Hence, an enormous effort has been put into investigating the neutralizing antibody response to HIV-1 over the past 20 years which generated key information on epitope specificity, potency, breadth and in vivo activity of the neutralizing antibodies. Less clear is still the role of antibody-mediated effector functions (antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity, phagocytosis, complement system) and uncertainty prevails whether Fc-mediated mechanisms are largely beneficial or detrimental for the host. The current knowledge on the manifold functions of the humoral immune response in HIV infection, their underlying mechanisms and potential in vaccine-induced immunity will be discussed in this review.

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