Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950) 2016 08 17197(6) 2316-24 doi 10.4049/jimmunol.1600544
An established sex bias in HIV pathogenesis is linked to immune responses. Recently we reported a vaccine-induced sex bias: vaccinated female but not male rhesus macaques exhibited delayed SIV acquisition. This outcome was correlated with SIV Env-specific rectal IgA, rectal memory B cells, and total rectal plasma cells. To uncover additional contributing factors, using samples from the same study, we investigated memory B cell population dynamics in blood, bone marrow, and rectal tissue during immunization and postchallenge; IgG subtypes and Ab avidity; and regulatory B (Breg) cell frequency and function. Few sex differences were seen in Env-specific memory B cell, plasmablast, or plasma cell frequencies in the three compartments. Males had higher IgG Ab titers and avidity indices than females. However, females had elevated levels of Env-specific IgG1, IgG2, and IgG3 Abs compared with males. gp140-specific IgG3 Abs of females but not males were correlated with Ab-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity activity against gp120 targets (p = 0.026) and with Ab-dependent phagocytic activity (p = 0.010). IgG3 Ab of females but not males also correlated with decreased peak viremia (p = 0.028). Peripheral blood CD19(+)CD25(+) Breg cells suppressed T cell proliferation compared with CD19(+)CD25(-) cells (p = 0.031) and exhibited increased IL-10 mRNA expression (p = 0.031). Male macaques postvaccination (p = 0.018) and postinfection (p = 0.0048) exhibited higher Breg frequencies than females. Moreover, male Breg frequencies correlated with peak viremia (p = 0.0071). Our data suggest that vaccinated females developed better Ab quality, contributing to better functionality. The elevated Breg frequencies in males may have facilitated SIV acquisition.