• Article

Maternal HIV-1 envelope-specific antibody responses and reduced risk of perinatal transmission


Permar, S. R., Fong, Y., Vandergrift, N., Fouda, G. G., Gilbert, P., Parks, R., ... Haynes, B. F. (2015). Maternal HIV-1 envelope-specific antibody responses and reduced risk of perinatal transmission. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 125(7), 2702-2706. DOI: 10.1172/JCI81593


Despite the wide availability of antiretroviral drugs, more than 250,000 infants are vertically infected with HIV-1 annually, emphasizing the need for additional interventions to eliminate pediatric HIV-1 infections. Here, we aimed to define humoral immune correlates of risk of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV-1, including responses associated with protection in the RV144 vaccine trial. Eighty-three untreated, HIV-1-transmitting mothers and 165 propensity score-matched nontransmitting mothers were selected from the Women and Infants Transmission Study (WITS) of US nonbreastfeeding, HIV-1-infected mothers. In a multivariable logistic regression model, the magnitude of the maternal IgG responses specific for the third variable loop (V3) of the HIV-1 envelope was predictive of a reduced risk of MTCT. Neutralizing Ab responses against easy-to-neutralize (tier 1) HIV-1 strains also predicted a reduced risk of peripartum transmission in secondary analyses. Moreover, recombinant maternal V3-specific IgG mAbs mediated neutralization of autologous HIV-1 isolates. Thus, common V3-specific Ab responses in maternal plasma predicted a reduced risk of MTCT and mediated autologous virus neutralization, suggesting that boosting these maternal Ab responses may further reduce HIV-1 MTCT.