Determinants of B-Cell Compartment Hyperactivation in European Adolescents Living With Perinatally Acquired HIV-1 After Over 10 Years of Suppressive Therapy.
Ruggiero A., Pascucci GR., Cotugno N., Domínguez-Rodríguez S., Rinaldi S., Tagarro A., Rojo P., Foster C., Bamford A., De Rossi A., Nastouli E., Klein N., Morrocchi E., Fatou B., Smolen KK., Ozonoff A., Di Pastena M., Luzuriaga K., Steen H., Giaquinto C., Goulder P., Rossi P., Levy O., Pahwa S., Palma P., EPIICAL Consortium None.
Background: Despite a successful antiretroviral therapy (ART), adolescents living with perinatally acquired HIV (PHIV) experience signs of B-cell hyperactivation with expansion of 'namely' atypical B-cell phenotypes, including double negative (CD27-IgD-) and termed age associated (ABCs) B-cells (T-bet+CD11c+), which may result in reduced cell functionality, including loss of vaccine-induced immunological memory and higher risk of developing B-cells associated tumors. In this context, perinatally HIV infected children (PHIV) deserve particular attention, given their life-long exposure to chronic immune activation. Methods: We studied 40 PHIV who started treatment by the 2nd year of life and maintained virological suppression for 13.5 years, with 5/40 patients experiencing transient elevation of the HIV-1 load in the plasma (Spike). We applied a multi-disciplinary approach including immunological B and T cell phenotype, plasma proteomics analysis, and serum level of anti-measles antibodies as functional correlates of vaccine-induced immunity. Results: Phenotypic signs of B cell hyperactivation were elevated in subjects starting ART later (%DN T-bet+CD11c+ p=0.03; %AM T-bet+CD11c+ p=0.02) and were associated with detectable cell-associated HIV-1 RNA (%AM T-bet+CD11c+ p=0.0003) and transient elevation of the plasma viral load (spike). Furthermore, B-cell hyperactivation appeared to be present in individuals with higher frequency of exhausted T-cells, in particular: %CD4 TIGIT+ were associated with %DN (p=0.008), %DN T-bet+CD11c+ (p=0.0002) and %AM T-bet+CD11c+ (p=0.002) and %CD4 PD-1 were associated with %DN (p=0.048), %DN T-bet+CD11c+ (p=0.039) and %AM T-bet+CD11c+ (p=0.006). The proteomic analysis revealed that subjects with expansion of these atypical B-cells and exhausted T-cells had enrichment of proteins involved in immune inflammation and complement activation pathways. Furthermore, we observed that higher levels of ABCs were associated a reduced capacity to maintain vaccine-induced antibody immunity against measles (%B-cells CD19+CD10- T-bet+, p=0.035). Conclusion: We identified that the levels of hyperactivated B cell subsets were strongly affected by time of ART start and associated with clinical, viral, cellular and plasma soluble markers. Furthermore, the expansion of ABCs also had a direct impact on the capacity to develop antibodies response following routine vaccination.