Immunity and HIV persistence in perinatal HIV infection

Project: Research project

Project Details


Advances in maternal-infant HIV prophylaxis with antiretroviral therapy (ART) have dramatically reduced mother to child transmission (MTCT), but yearly, >200,000 new vertical HIV infections (HIV+) occur, predominantly in resource poor nations. With potent early ART initiation, HIV-infected (HIV+) infants can survive into adulthood. The role and nature of immune mechanisms that are important for HIV reservoir establishment and mechanisms of HIV persistence in HIV+ infants on ART are poorly understood and may differ in infants compared to adults. HIV infection stimulates an immune response that can be protective and have detrimental effects as well. The infant immune system undergoes dynamic developmental changes and is also challenged by vaccines to stimulate immunologic memory. T follicular helper cells (Tfh) are a unique subset of CD4 TCM cells that home to germinal centers (GC) in lymph nodes (LN) and facilitates antibody responses of B cells following vaccination, and this subset has been demonstrated in adults as a major HIV reservoir. We hypothesize that establishment of HIV reservoirs and HIV persistence in infancy are influenced by host immune response, timing of ART initiation and events such as childhood immunizations that stimulate immunologic memory. This proposal will perform investigations to assess latent and active reservoirs in peripheral blood in the context of a developing immune system prospectively in HIV+ infants starting ART at age
Effective start/end date6/25/165/31/21


  • National Institutes of Health: $638,429.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $645,538.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $652,055.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $656,445.00


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