The in vitro suppressive effect of gp120 and gp120/anti-gp120 antibody is well known but not yet proven to operate in vivo. We report findings consistent with the presence of gp120/anti-gp120 antibody complexes on CD4+ lymphocytes from HIV-infected patients with advanced disease. PBMC from most AIDS patients showed selective masking of the CD4 epitope associated with the gp120 binding site; immunoprecipitation of PBMC with anti-CD4 mAb disclosed high amounts of IgG bound to CD4 receptors. Antibodies against HIV env proteins, but not other HIV products or CD4 Ag, were detected in purified CD4+ cell culture supernatants; in vitro culture was associated with normalization of both CD4 expression in PBMC and the lymphocyte proliferative response to anti-CD3. gp120 presence could not be directly demonstrated, but findings strongly suggested that CD4+ lymphocytes from most HIV-infected patients with advanced disease were covered with gp120/anti-gp120 antibody complexes, which are responsible for down-regulation of surface CD4 expression as well as functional lymphocyte impairment; this event may represent an important mechanism in the pathogenesis of HIV-associated immunodeficiency.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Journal of Immunology|
|Publication status||Published - May 1 1992|
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