Autoantibodies against ß2-microglobulin-free HLA antigens in AIDS patients

Maria Orietta Borghi, Claudio De Santis, Wilma Barcellini, Lucia Lopalco, Cristina Fain, Adriano Lazzarin, Antonio G. Siccardi, Pier Luigi Meroni, Carlo Zanussi, Alberto Beretta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Serum samples from 88 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive drug addicts have been investigated for the presence of antibodies to both ß2-microglobulin (ß2m)-free and ß2m-associated HLA class I molecules. Using HIV-negative drug addicts as background control, we found that none of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) stage II, 9.1% of CDC III, 36.4% of CDC IV A, and 45.5% of CDC IV Cl patients had significant levels of autoantibodies competing with the binding of the monoclonal antibody specific for ß2m-free HLA I (L31 mAb). Using the mAb 01.65, recognizing the ß2massociated form of HLA class I molecules, a similar percentage of positive samples was found in the CDC II, CDC III, and CDC IV A patient groups; conversely, the percentage of positive serum samples was lower in the CDC IV Cl group. A lower number of systemic lupus erythematosus serum samples and none of the specimens from healthy adult subjects or patients suffering from recurrent Epstein-Barr virus infections were positive in both assays. Our data demonstrate the existence of an ongoing HLA class I-specific autoimmune response during AIDS disease development, which probably reflects a molecular mimicry between autologous histocompatibility antigens and HIV components. The relationship between the prevalence of autoantibodies against ß2m-free HLA class I and disease progression suggests a possible pathogenetic role of these antibodies in the induction of the HIV-associated immune deficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1114-1119
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1993


  • Anti-HLA class I autoantibodies
  • HIV infection
  • ß<inf>2</inf>-Microglobulin-free and -associated HLA class I molecules

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Virology
  • Immunology and Allergy


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