Mucosal sites serve as the principle venues through which primary human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infections are transferred from donor to host. These moist tissues, which provide the interface with the external environment, also provide access to many of the secondary opportunistic infections that aggravate and may accelerate HIV-1 disease. Antibodies to HIV-1, particularly of the IgG rather than the IgA class, have been detected in virtually all mucosal fluids from HIV-1-infected patients. However, the ability of such patients to generate de novo humoral responses to new mucosal pathogens is impaired. Current studies are directed to characterizing the functional role of natural and infection-derived antibodies in control of HIV-1 infection as well as the impact of HIV-1 disease on mucosal B cell responses to immunization and infection.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Grant support: NIH (DE-42600, DE-72621, AI-39445); Veterans Affairs Research Service; generous logistical support from the National Institute of Dental Research, NIH.