PLoS Pathogens (2015-08-01)

Mucosal B Cells Are Associated with Delayed SIV Acquisition in Vaccinated Female but Not Male Rhesus Macaques Following SIVmac251 Rectal Challenge.

  • Iskra Tuero,
  • Venkatramanan Mohanram,
  • Thomas Musich,
  • Leia Miller,
  • Diego A Vargas-Inchaustegui,
  • Thorsten Demberg,
  • David Venzon,
  • Irene Kalisz,
  • V S Kalyanaraman,
  • Ranajit Pal,
  • Maria Grazia Ferrari,
  • Celia LaBranche,
  • David C Montefiori,
  • Mangala Rao,
  • Monica Vaccari,
  • Genoveffa Franchini,
  • Susan W Barnett,
  • Marjorie Robert-Guroff

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 11, no. 8
p. e1005101


Read online

Many viral infections, including HIV, exhibit sex-based pathogenic differences. However, few studies have examined vaccine-related sex differences. We compared immunogenicity and protective efficacy of monomeric SIV gp120 with oligomeric SIV gp140 in a pre-clinical rhesus macaque study and explored a subsequent sex bias in vaccine outcome. Each immunization group (16 females, 8 males) was primed twice mucosally with replication-competent Ad-recombinants encoding SIVsmH4env/rev, SIV239gag and SIV239nefΔ1-13 and boosted twice intramuscularly with SIVmac239 monomeric gp120 or oligomeric gp140 in MF59 adjuvant. Controls (7 females, 5 males) received empty Ad and MF59. Up to 9 weekly intrarectal challenges with low-dose SIVmac251 were administered until macaques became infected. We assessed vaccine-induced binding, neutralizing, and non-neutralizing antibodies, Env-specific memory B cells and plasmablasts/plasma cells (PB/PC) in bone marrow and rectal tissue, mucosal Env-specific antibodies, and Env-specific T-cells. Post-challenge, only one macaque (gp140-immunized) remained uninfected. However, SIV acquisition was significantly delayed in vaccinated females but not males, correlated with Env-specific IgA in rectal secretions, rectal Env-specific memory B cells, and PC in rectal tissue. These results extend previous correlations of mucosal antibodies and memory B cells with protective efficacy. The gp140 regimen was more immunogenic, stimulating elevated gp140 and cyclic V2 binding antibodies, ADCC and ADCP activities, bone marrow Env-specific PB/PC, and rectal gp140-specific IgG. However, immunization with gp120, the form of envelope immunogen used in RV144, the only vaccine trial to show some efficacy, provided more significant acquisition delay. Further over 40 weeks of follow-up, no gp120 immunized macaques met euthanasia criteria in contrast to 7 gp140-immunized and 2 control animals. Although males had higher binding antibodies than females, ADCC and ADCP activities were similar. The complex challenge outcomes may reflect differences in IgG subtypes, Fc glycosylation, Fc-R polymorphisms, and/or the microbiome, key areas for future studies. This first demonstration of a sex-difference in SIV vaccine-induced protection emphasizes the need for sex-balancing in vaccine trials. Our results highlight the importance of mucosal immunity and memory B cells at the SIV exposure site for protection.