Scientific reports 2017 04 067(1) 666 doi 10.1038/s41598-017-00759-8
A major challenge in evaluating the success of HIV eradication approaches is the need for accurate measurement of persistent HIV during effective antiretroviral therapy (ART). Previous studies have reported that the anti-HIV antibody assay "luciferase immuno-precipitation systems (LIPS)" can distinguish HIV-infected individuals harboring different sizes of the viral reservoirs. We performed antibody profiling of HIV-1 proteomes using LIPS in viremic progressors (n = 38), elite controllers (ECs; n = 19) and patients with fully suppressive long-term antiretroviral therapy (ART) (n = 19) (mean 17 years). IgG was quantified against six HIV-1 fusion proteins: p24, gp41, RT, Tat, integrase and protease. Lower antibody levels to all six-fusion proteins were observed in long-term ART patients compared to viremics (p < 0.05). In contrast ECs had lower antibody levels only against Tat and Integrase (p < 0.05). Principal component analysis and cluster-network analysis identified that 68% (13/19) of the long-term ART patients clustered together with 26% (5/19) ECs. The remaining ECs clustered together with the viremics indicating non-homogeneity among the ECs. The low anti-HIV levels in the long-term treated patients may indicate a restricted remaining viral replication. In contrast, the higher levels in ECs suggest a continuous viral expression with a limited concomitant release of extracellular virus.