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Mother to child transmission of HIV-1 in a Thai population: role of virus characteristics and maternal humoral immune response.

Author(s): Kittinunvorakoon C, Morris MK, Neeyapun K, Jetsawang B, Buehring GC, Hanson CV

Affiliation(s): Division of Infectious Diseases, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-7354, USA.

Publication date & source: 2009-05, J Med Virol., 81(5):768-78.

Publication type: Randomized Controlled Trial; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

The objective of this study was to investigate factors influencing mother to child transmission of HIV-1 in Thailand, where HIV-1 CRF01_AE, the major subtype in Southeast Asia, predominates. Samples from 84 HIV-1 infected, anti-retroviral treatment-naive, non-breast feeding mothers, 28 who transmitted HIV-1 to their babies (transmitters) and 56 who did not (non-transmitters), were studied for maternal humoral immune response and virus characteristics. Maternal humoral immune response was measured by lymphocyte phenotyping; neutralizing antibodies to laboratory HIV-1 MN strain and two clinical isolates; peptide binding antibody to gp41 and V3 from strains CRF01_AE, B, and MN; autologous antibodies; and quasispecies diversity. Virus characteristics studied were viral load, co-receptor usage, and viral replication capacity. No significant difference between transmitters and non-transmitters was found for any parameter of maternal humoral immune response. However, viral load and viral replication capacity were significantly higher in transmitters versus non-transmitters and were not correlated with each other. This suggests that viral replication capacity may be a transmission factor independent of viral load, which is already well established as a risk factor for transmission of HIV-1. All except four viral isolates used the CCR5 co-receptor. This is one of few studies of vertical transmission in a population where HIV-1 CRF01_AE predominates. The data suggest that in this population the maternal humoral immune response was not important in preventing transmission at parturition, but that virus characteristics were key factors, and that viral replication capacity may contribute to birth-associated mother to child transmission of HIV-1. Copyright 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Page last updated: 2009-10-20

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