Paradoxical suppression of poly-specific broadly neutralizing antibodies in the presence of strain-specific neutralizing antibodies following HIV infection.


One of the first immunologic responses against HIV infection is the presence of neutralizing antibodies that seem able to inactivate several HIV strains. Moreover, in vitro studies have shown the existence of monoclonal antibodies that exhibit broad crossclade neutralizing potential. Yet their number is low and slow to develop in vivo. In this paper, we investigate the potential benefits of inducing poly-specific neutralizing antibodies in vivo throughout immunization. We develop a mathematical model that considers the activation of families of B lymphocytes producing poly-specific and strain-specific antibodies and use it to demonstrate that, even if such families are successful in producing neutralizing antibodies, the competition between them may limit the poly-specific response allowing the virus to escape. We modify this model to account for viral evolution under the pressure of antibody responses in natural HIV infection. The model can reproduce viral escape under certain conditions of B lymphocyte competition. Using these models we provide explanations for the observed antibody failure in controlling natural infection and predict quantitative measures that need to be satisfied for long-term control of HIV infection.

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