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Significantly reduced CCR5-tropic HIV-1 replication in vitro in cells from subjects previously immunized with Vaccinia Virus

  • Author(s): Weinstein, Raymond S
  • Weinstein, Michael M
  • Alibek, Kenneth
  • Bukrinsky, Michael I
  • Brichacek, Beda
  • et al.
Abstract

Abstract Background At present, the relatively sudden appearance and explosive spread of HIV throughout Africa and around the world beginning in the 1950s has never been adequately explained. Theorizing that this phenomenon may be somehow related to the eradication of smallpox followed by the cessation of vaccinia immunization, we undertook a comparison of HIV-1 susceptibility in the peripheral blood mononuclear cells from subjects immunized with the vaccinia virus to those from vaccinia naive donors. Results Vaccinia immunization in the preceding 3-6 months resulted in an up to 5-fold reduction in CCR5-tropic but not in CXCR4-tropic HIV-1 replication in the cells from vaccinated subjects. The addition of autologous serum to the cell cultures resulted in enhanced R5 HIV-1 replication in the cells from unvaccinated, but not vaccinated subjects. There were no significant differences in the concentrations of MIP-1α, MIP-1β and RANTES between the cell cultures derived from vaccinated and unvaccinated subjects when measured in culture medium on days 2 and 5 following R5 HIV-1 challenge. Discussion Since primary HIV-1 infections are caused almost exclusively by the CCR5-tropic HIV-1 strains, our results suggest that prior immunization with vaccinia virus might provide an individual with some degree of protection to subsequent HIV infection and/or progression. The duration of such protection remains to be determined. A differential elaboration of MIP-1α, MIP-1β and RANTES between vaccinated and unvaccinated subjects, following infection, does not appear to be a mechanism in the noted protection.

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