Indexed on: 27 Oct '01Published on: 27 Oct '01Published in: AIDS research and human retroviruses
The helper T type 1 (Th1) function of CD4(+) T lymphocytes is presumed to be of key importance in host defense against HIV-1. As the production of different antibody isotypes is dependent on this helper T function, we investigated whether HIV-1-specific responses of a particular IgG isotype could be a reliable marker of long-term HIV-1 control. Assessment of the IgG subclass distribution in the plasma of HIV-1-infected patients enrolled in the French prospective Asymptomatic Long-Term (ALT) cohort showed that IgG2 directed against HIV-1 Env gp41 and Gag proteins was associated with low viral load, high CD4(+) lymphocyte count, and weak neutralizing activity. By contrast, levels of anti-Env and anti-Pol IgG1 as well as the magnitude of neutralizing activity were correlated with the viral load and thus merely reflect the level of HIV replication. Furthermore, IgG2 directed against Gag proteins was significantly associated with HIV-1 p24-specific Th1 cell production of interferon gamma and interleukin 2. In multivariate analysis, only two variables, anti-gp41 IgG2 and plasma HIV-1 RNA, were found to be independent prognostic factors of remaining long-term nonprogressive over time. By providing new insight into the nature of an HIV-specific antibody response associated with the control of virus replication, these findings have implications for the design of HIV vaccines.