Passive immunity is conferred to the fetus by maternal antibodies, the majority of which are transported across the placenta during the third trimester of pregnancy. To determine the placental transport of anti-HIV-1 antibodies, serum from 5 women infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and their abortuses were examined for anti-HIV-1 antibodies. The gestational age of the abortuses ranged from 18 to 24 weeks and following polymerase chain reaction amplification, HIV-1 gag DNA was detected in tissue from 2 of the abortuses. The concentration of total IgG antibodies present in cord blood ranged from 2.9% to 12.5% of maternal levels. Antibodies directed against the envelope proteins, gp160 and gp120, the reverse transcriptase protein, p66, and the capsular protein, p24, were present in fetal and maternal serum. Although IgG1 was the predominant subclass antibody generated in response to HIV-1 proteins, IgG2, IgG3, and IgG4 directed against HIV-1 proteins were also detected. There were large differences in the antigens recognized by the antibodies produced in the mothers, and the IgG subclasses of the antibodies produced. HIV-1 proteins recognized by antibodies present in cord blood were similar to those recognized by paired maternal serum and IgG1, IgG2, IgG3 recognizing HIV-1 proteins were detected in fetal serum. However, there was a dichotomy in placental transport of IgG subclass antibodies to HIV-1 proteins. The role of these antibodies in prevention of vertical transmission of HIV-1 has yet to be determined.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases