Antibody reactivity to HIV-1 Vpu in HIV-1/AIDS patients on highly active antiretroviral therapy

Yi Ming A. Chen, Wei Yu Rey, Yu Ching Lan, Shu Fen Lai, Yu Chuan Huang, Shiow Ing Wu, Tze Tze Liu, Kwang Jen Hsiao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) Vpu protein promotes both extracellular release of viral particles and degradation of CD4 in the endoplasmic reticulum. The correlation of anti-Vpu antibody (Ab) reactivity to Vpu and AIDS disease progression was studied in 162 HIV-1/AIDS patients after they had received highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) for 1 year. Anti-Vpu Ab reactivity was analyzed by Western blot using a recombinant Vpu protein. Results showed that at baseline (prior to initiation of HAART), 31.5% of patients (51/162) had anti-Vpu Ab. The proportion of anti-Vpu Ab in patients with CD4 counts ≥500, 200-500 and <200/mm3 were 40.6, 34.7 and 14.3%, respectively (χ2 test, p < 0.05). In addition, decreasing levels of anti-Vpu Ab reactivity were significantly correlated with increasing levels of HIV-1 viral load. After receiving HAART for 1 year, 7 of 111 anti-Vpu Ab-negative patients (6.3%) seroconverted (-→+ group) and 8 of 51 anti-Vpu Ab-positive (15.7%) patients became negative (+→- group). Among 104 anti-Vpu Ab-negative patients, 40 were selected for analysis of the vpu gene. All of them had an intact vpu gene. Patients were further divided into four groups according to their anti-Vpu Ab serostatus and anti-HIV-1 Ab was measured. The results showed that only the anti-Vpu Ab serocon-verted group (-→+) had increased serum levels of anti-HIV-1 Abs after 1 year of HAART, while the other three groups (+→+, -→- and +→-) had decreased serum levels of anti-HIV-1 Abs after 1 year of HAART (p < 0.05). In conclusion, the presence of anti-Vpu Ab is associated with improved prognosis following HIV-1 infection, and seroconversion of anti-Vpu Ab in patients on HAART indicates significant recovery of immunity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)266-275
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biomedical Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 20 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • AIDS
  • Anti-Vpu antibody
  • Disease progression
  • Highly active antiretroviral therapy
  • IgG subclasses
  • Total IgG
  • Viral load
  • vpu gene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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