A Nonparametric Procedure for Defining a New Humoral Immunologic Profile in a Pilot Study on HIV Infected Patients

Chiara Brombin, Lorenzo Diomede, Daniela Tudor, Anne Sophie Drillet, Claudia Pastori, Elena Poli, Agostino Riva, Caterina Uberti-Foppa, Massimo Galli, Clelia Di Serio, Morgane Bomsel, Lucia Lopalco

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This work aims at identifying a set of humoral immunologic parameters that improve prediction of the activation process in HIV patients. Starting from the well-known impact of humoral immunity in HIV infection, there is still a lack of knowledge in defining the role of the modulation of functional activity and titers of serum antibodies from early stage of infection to the development of AIDS. We propose an integrated approach that combines humoral and clinical parameters in defining the host immunity, implementing algorithms associated with virus control. A number of humoral parameters were simultaneously evaluated in a whole range of serum samples from HIV-positive patients. This issue has been afforded accounting for estimation problems typically related to "feasibility" studies where small sample size in each group and large number of parameters are jointly estimated. We used nonparametric statistical procedures to identify biomarkers in our study which included 42 subjects stratified on five different stages of HIV infection, i.e., Elite Controllers (EC), Long Term Non Progressors (LTNP), HAART, AIDS and Acute Infection (AI). The main goal of the paper is to illustrate a novel profiling method for helping to design a further confirmatory study. A set of seventeen different HIV-specific blood humoral factors were analyzed in all subjects, i.e. IgG and IgA to gp120IIIB, to gp120Bal, to whole gp41, to P1 and T20 gp41 epitopes of the MPER-HR2 region, to QARILAV gp41 epitope of the HR1 region and to CCR5; neutralization activity against five different virus strains and ADCC were also evaluated. Patients were selected on the basis of CD4 cell counts, HIV/RNA and clinical status. The Classification and Regression Trees (CART) approach has been used to uncover specific patterns of humoral parameters in different stages of HIV disease. Virus neutralization of primary virus strains and antibodies to gp41 were required to classify patients, suggesting that clinical profiles strongly rely on functional activity against HIV.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere58768
JournalPLoS One
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 22 2013


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

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