Journal Article

Seroreversion in Subjects Receiving Antiretroviral Therapy during Acute/Early HIV Infection

C. Bradley Hare, Brandee L. Pappalardo, Michael P. Busch, Annika C. Karlsson, Bruce H. Phelps, Steven S. Alexander, Christopher Bentsen, Clarissa A. Ramstead, Douglas F. Nixon, Jay A. Levy and Frederick M. Hecht

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 42, issue 5, pages 700-708
Published in print March 2006 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online March 2006 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI:
Seroreversion in Subjects Receiving Antiretroviral Therapy during Acute/Early HIV Infection

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Background. We assessed human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) antibody seroreversion among individuals initiating antiretroviral therapy (ART) during acute/early HIV infection and determined whether seroreversion was associated with loss of cytotoxic T lymphocyte responses.

Methods. Subjects in a cohort with acute/early HIV infection (<12 months into infection) who initiated ART within 28 days after study entry and maintained HIV type 1 ribonucleic acid levels of ⩽500 copies/mL for >24 weeks were selected. Two clinically available second-generation enzyme immunoassays (EIAs) and a confirmatory Western blot were used to screen subjects for antibody reversion. Those with negative screening test results underwent additional antibody testing, including a third-generation EIA, and were assessed for cytotoxic T lymphocyte responses.

Results. Of 87 subjects identified, 12 (14%) had negative antibody test results at the start of ART; all 12 had seroconversion, although 1 had seroconversion only on a third-generation EIA. Of the 87 subjects, 6 (7%) had seroreversion on at least 1 EIA antibody assay while receiving ART during a median follow-up of 90 weeks. The only clinical predictor of seroreversion was a low baseline “detuned” (less sensitive) antibody. Cytotoxic T lymphocyte responses to HIV Gag peptides were detected in 4 of 5 subjects with seroreversion who could be tested. All 5 who had seroreversion who stopped ART experienced virologic rebound and antibody evolution.

Conclusions. HIV antibody seroconversion on second-generation EIA antibody tests may fail to occur when ART is initiated early. Seroreversion was not uncommon among subjects treated early, although cytotoxic T lymphocyte responses to HIV antigens remained detectable in most subjects. Antibody seroreversion did not indicate viral eradication. A third-generation EIA was the most sensitive test for HIV antibodies.

Journal Article.  4749 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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