HIV can be partially contained by host immunity and understanding the basis of this may inform vaccine design. The importance of B-cell function in long-term control is poorly understood. One method of investigating this is in vivo cellular depletion. In this study, we take advantage of a unique opportunity to investigate the role of B cells in an HIV-infected patient. The HIV-1(+) patient studied here was not taking antiretroviral drugs and was treated for pre-existing low-grade lymphoplasmacytoid lymphoma by depletion of CD20+ B cells using rituximab. We demonstrate that B-cell depletion results in a decline in autologous neutralizing antibody (NAb) responses and a 1.7 log(10) rise in HIV-1 plasma viral load (pVL). The recovery of NAbs results in a decline in pVL. The HIV-1 sequences diversify and NAb-resistant mutants are subsequently selected. These data suggest that B-cell function can contribute to the long-term control of pVL, and that NAbs may be more important in controlling chronic HIV-1 infection than previously suspected.

Original publication

DOI

10.1038/ncomms1100

Type

Journal article

Journal

Nature communications

Publication Date

19/10/2010

Volume

1

Addresses

Nuffield Department of Medicine and NIHR Biomedical Research Centre, Oxford Martin School, Peter Medawar Building for Pathogen Research, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3SY, UK.

Keywords

B-Lymphocytes, CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes, Humans, HIV Infections, Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay, Mutagenesis, Site-Directed, Computational Biology, Molecular Sequence Data, Interferon-gamma, Antibodies, Neutralizing, Antibodies, Monoclonal, Murine-Derived, Rituximab