α-Defensins in the prevention of HIV transmission among breastfed infants

Louise Kuhn, Daria Trabattoni, Chipepo Kankasa, Katherine Semrau, Prisca Kasonde, Francesca Lissoni, Moses Sinkala, Mrinal Ghosh, Cheswa Vwalika, Grace M. Aldrovandi, Donald M. Thea, Mario Clerici

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Abstract

α-Defensins have been observed to have anti-HIV activity but have not been investigated in relation to mother-to-child HIV transmission. We measured the concentration of α-defensins in breast milk of HIV-positive mothers and tested whether the concentrations were associated with HIV transmission. A nested case-control study of 32 HIV-positive women who transmitted HIV to their infants and 52 randomly selected HIV-positive women who did not transmit HIV to their infants was conducted in Lusaka, Zambia. α-Defensins were detected in most (79%) of the milk samples tested. Concentrations of α-defensins increased as breast milk HIV RNA quantity increased, and breast milk HIV RNA quantity was, in turn, a strong and significant predictor of HIV transmission. After adjustment for milk HIV RNA quantity, however, α-defensin concentration was significantly associated with a decreased risk of intrapartum and postnatal HIV transmission (odds ratio = 0.3, 95% confidence interval: 0.09-0.93). Our data suggest that there may be a role for α-defensins in prevention of HIV transmission to breastfed infants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-142
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes
Volume39
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2005

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Keywords

  • Breast milk
  • Defensins
  • HIV
  • Transmission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Immunology

Cite this

Kuhn, L., Trabattoni, D., Kankasa, C., Semrau, K., Kasonde, P., Lissoni, F., Sinkala, M., Ghosh, M., Vwalika, C., Aldrovandi, G. M., Thea, D. M., & Clerici, M. (2005). α-Defensins in the prevention of HIV transmission among breastfed infants. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, 39(2), 138-142.