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Immunology - Infectious Diseases - Obstetrics - Pediatrics and Child Health


Breast Milk from Tanzanian Women Has Divergent Effects on Cell-Free and Cell-Associated HIV-1 Infection In Vitro
Published: Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Author: Magdalena A. Lyimo et al.

by Magdalena A. Lyimo, Matilda Ngarina Mosi, Molly L. Housman, Muhammad Zain-Ul-Abideen, Frederick V. Lee, Alexandra L. Howell, Ruth I. Connor

Transmission of HIV-1 during breastfeeding is a significant source of new pediatric infections in sub-Saharan Africa. Breast milk from HIV-positive mothers contains both cell-free and cell-associated virus; however, the impact of breast milk on HIV-1 infectivity remains poorly understood. In the present study, breast milk was collected from HIV-positive and HIV-negative Tanzanian women attending antenatal clinics in Dar es Salaam. Milk was analyzed for activity in vitro against both cell-free and cell-associated HIV-1. Potent inhibition of cell-free R5 and X4 HIV-1 occurred in the presence of milk from all donors regardless of HIV-1 serostatus. Inhibition of cell-free HIV-1 infection positively correlated with milk levels of sialyl-LewisX from HIV-positive donors. In contrast, milk from 8 of 16 subjects enhanced infection with cell-associated HIV-1 regardless of donor serostatus. Milk from two of these subjects contained high levels of multiple pro-inflammatory cytokines including TNFa, IL-1ß, IL-6, IL-8, MIP-1a, MIP-1ß, MCP-1 and IP-10, and enhanced cell-associated HIV-1 infection at dilutions as high as 1:500. These findings indicate that breast milk contains innate factors with divergent activity against cell-free and cell-associated HIV-1 in vitro. Enhancement of cell-associated HIV-1 infection by breast milk may be associated with inflammatory conditions in the mother and may contribute to infant infection during breastfeeding.
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