Beneficial effects of cART initiated during primary and chronic HIV-1 infection on immunoglobulin-expression of memory B-cell subsets

Manuela Pogliaghi, Marco Ripa, Simone Pensieroso, Monica Tolazzi, Stefania Chiappetta, Silvia Nozza, Adriano Lazzarin, Giuseppe Tambussi, Gabriella Scarlatti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction During HIV-1 infection the B-cell compartment undergoes profound changes towards terminal differentiation, which are only partially restored by antiretroviral therapy (cART). Materials and Methods To investigate the impact of infection as early as during primary HIV-1 infection (PHI) we assessed distribution of B-cell subsets in 19 PHI and 25 chronic HIV-1-infected (CHI) individuals before and during 48 weeks of cART as compared to healthy controls (n = 23). We also analysed Immunoglobulin-expression of memory B-cell subsets to identify alterations in Immunoglobulin-maturation. Results Determination of B-cell subsets at baseline showed that total and Naive B-cells were decreased whereas Activated Memory (AM), Tissue-like Memory (TLM) B-cells and Plasma cells were increased in both PHI and CHI patients. After 4 weeks of cART total B-cells increased, while AM, TLM B-cells and Plasma cells decreased, although without reaching normal levels in either group of individuals. This trend was maintained until week 48, though only total B-cells normalized in both PHI and CHI. Resting Memory (RM) B-cells were preserved since baseline. This subset remained stable in CHI, while was expanded by an early initiation of cART during PHI. Untreated CHI patients showed IgM-overexpression at the expenses of switched (IgM-IgD-) phenotypes of the memory subsets. Interestingly, in PHI patients a significant alteration of Immunoglobulin-expression was evident at BL in TLM cells, and after 4 weeks, despite treatment, in AM and RM subsets. After 48 weeks of therapy, Immunoglobulin-expression of AM and RM almost normalized, but remained perturbed in TLM cells in both groups. Conclusions In conclusion, aberrant activated and exhausted B-cell phenotypes rose already during PHI, while most of the alterations in Ig-expression seen in CHI appeared later, despite 4 weeks of effective cART. After 48 weeks of cART B-cell subsets distribution improved although without full normalization, while Immunoglobulin-expression normalized among AM and RM, remaining perturbed in TLM B-cells of PHI and CHI.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0140435
JournalPLoS One
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 16 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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