PloS one 2017 05 0212(5) e0176641 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0176641
Dysfunction of T follicular-helper (TFH) cells is a possible cause of impaired germinal centre (GC) and IgG antibody responses in individuals with human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) infection and might contribute to decreased magnitude and isotype diversification of IgG antibodies to pneumococcal polysaccharides (PcPs). We examined the production of IgG1 and IgG2 antibodies to PcPs 4, 6B, 9V and 14 by enumerating antibody secreting cells (ASCs) at day (D) 7 and determining fold-increase in serum antibody levels at D28 after vaccination with unconjugated PcPs in HIV seronegative subjects (n = 20) and in HIV patients who were receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) (n = 28) or who were ART-naive (n = 11) and determined their association with ICOS+ and ICOS- circulating memory TFH (cmTFH) cells (CD4+CD45RA-CD27+CXCR5+PD-1+) and short lived plasmablasts (SPBs) at D7, and with PcP-specific and total IgM+ and IgG+ memory B cells at D0. In HIV seronegative subjects, production of IgG1+ and IgG2+ ASCs was consistently associated with the frequency of ICOS+ cmTFH cells but not ICOS- cmTFH cells or memory B cells. In contrast, post-vaccination ASCs in HIV patients, regardless of ART status, were lower than in HIV seronegative subjects and not associated with ICOS+ cmTFH cells, the expansion of which was absent (ART-naive patients) or much lower than in HIV seronegative subjects (ART-treated patients). Production of SPBs was also lower in ART-naive patients. Fold-increase in IgG2 antibodies at D28 also correlated with ICOS+ cmTFH cells at D7 in HIV seronegative subjects but not in HIV patients. These novel findings provide evidence that ICOS+ cmTFH cells contribute to the regulation of PcP-specific IgG antibody responses, including isotype diversification, and that TFH cell dysfunction may be a cause of impaired PcP-specific IgG antibody responses and increased susceptibility to pneumococcal disease in HIV patients.