The role of virologic and immunologic factors in mother-to-child transmission of HIV-1

Clacdia Colognesi, Eva Halapi, Marianne Jansson, Vida Hodara, Gabriella Steuer, Eleonora Tresoldi, Thomas Leitner, Gabriella Scarlatti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Problem: More than 90% of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection in children is acquired by mother-to-child transmission. However, infection of the child occurs in between 14 and 35% of cases. Method of Study: To understand the mechanisms involved in HIV-1 transmission, we have investigated the antigenic, molecular, and phenotypic characteristics of the virus harbored in infected mothers and their children. Results: A clear correlation was observed between the transmission of the virus and the isolation of viral variants with a rapidly replicating and syncytium-inducing phenotype from the mother. Furthermore, non-transmitting mothers were able to neutralize several primary isolates more frequently than transmitting mothers. The comparison of the viral phenotype and genotype of mother-child pairs showed that the transmitted virus did not have common features, suggesting that transmission is usually not a selective process. Conclusions: This study suggests that transmission is governed by an interaction of both viral and immunological factors. The results obtained indicate that different strategies can be applied for the prevention of transmission.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-200
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Reproductive Immunology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1997


  • HIV-1
  • Mother-to-child transmission
  • Neutralizing response
  • Viral phenotype

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology


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