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Evidence for Efficient Vertical Transfer of Maternal HIV-1 Envelope–Specific Neutralizing Antibodies but No Association of Such Antibodies With Reduced Infant Infection

Omenda, Maxwel M. BSc*,†; Milligan, Caitlin BS*,†,‡; Odem-Davis, Katherine PhD*; Nduati, Ruth MBChB, MMed, MPH§; Richardson, Barbra A. PhD‖,¶,#; Lynch, John MD, MPH*,‡; John-Stewart, Grace MD, MPH, PhD‡,#; Overbaugh, Julie PhD*,**

JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes: October 1st, 2013 - Volume 64 - Issue 2 - p 163–166
doi: 10.1097/QAI.0b013e31829f6e41
Brief Report: Basic and Translational Science

Abstract: Little is known about the efficiency of vertical transfer of HIV-1–specific antibodies. Antibody levels in plasma from 60 mother–infant pairs near the time of birth, including 14 breast-feeding transmission pairs, were compared. The envelope-binding titers were strongly correlated (r = 0.91, P < 0.0001) and similar (1.4-fold greater in maternal plasma) between a mother and her corresponding infant as were the neutralizing antibody (Nab) levels (r = 0.80, P < 0.0001; 1.3-fold higher), suggesting efficient transfer. There was no significant difference in Nab responses between transmitting and nontransmitting mothers, although there was a trend for transmitting mothers to have higher HIV-1–specific Nabs.

*Division of Human Biology, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA;

Program in Pathobiology, University of Washington, Seattle WA;

Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle WA;

§Department of Pediatrics, University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya;

Division of Vaccine and Infectious Disease, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA;

Departments of Biostatistics;

#Global Health, University of Washington, Seattle, WA; and

**Division of Public Health Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA.

Correspondence to: Julie Overbaugh, PhD, Division of Human Biology, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Mailstop C3-168, 1100 Fairview Avenue North, Seattle, WA 98109 (e-mail:

Supported by National Institutes of Health grant AI076105. M.M.O. and C.M. were supported in part by NIH Training grants D43 TW000007 and T32 AI083203, respectively.

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, March 5–8, 2012, Seattle, WA. Poster number 1036.

Received March 29, 2013

Accepted June 03, 2013

© 2013 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins