Autoantibodies to CD4 in HIV type 1-exposed seronegative individuals

S. E. Burastero, D. Gaffi, L. Lopalco, G. Tambussi, B. Borgonovo, C. De Santis, C. Abecasis, P. Robbioni, A. Gasparri, A. Lazzarin, F. Celada, A. G. Siccardi, A. Beretta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this study was to investigate the presence and the fine specificity of anti-CD4 autoantibodies in seronegative subjects sexually exposed to HIV-1. Anti-CD4 autoantibodies were previously detected in a fraction of HIV-1-seropositive individuals. Whole sera, purified IgG fractions, and supernatants of EBV-transformed lymphoblastoid cell lines were analyzed by means of ELISA, Western blot, and by competition assays using monoclonal antibodies with known fine specificities. Anti-CD4 antibodies were found in 6 of 18 individuals exposed to HIV-1 infection and who have been persistently seronegative. These antibodies inhibited HIV-1-driven syncytium formation, did not interfere with the CD4-gp120 interaction, and competed for CD4 binding with two of three anti-CD4 monoclonals with known fine specificities. Moreover, autoantibodies with the same fine specificities were found in the supernatants of oligoclonal EBV-transformed B cell lines derived from these individuals. At variance, in the HIV-1-positive patients included in our study, the anti-CD4 antibody response was directed to a broader panel of epitopes, including those involved in CD4-gp120 interactions. In conclusion, anti-CD4 antibodies specific for defined epitopes of the CD4 molecule are generated in the course of an early immune response to HIV-1 antigens in the absence of other signs of infection, as they can be detected by conventional methods. These autoantibodies may play a protective role either alone or in association with other cellular and humoral factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-280
Number of pages8
JournalAIDS Research and Human Retroviruses
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Virology


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