Dysregulated Humoral Immunity to Nontyphoidal Salmonella in HIV-Infected African Adults

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Science  23 Apr 2010:
Vol. 328, Issue 5977, pp. 508-512
DOI: 10.1126/science.1180346

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HIV and Salmonella

HIV-positive individuals who are infected with nontyphoidal strains of Salmonella enterica often succumb to high morbidity and mortality. Why this is the case is unknown. MacLennan et al. (p. 508; see the Perspective by Moir and Fauci) have uncovered a dysregulated antibody response to Salmonella that is the likely culprit. Sera from HIV-infected individuals do a poor job of killing S. Typhimurium, despite surprisingly elevated antibody titers. Experiments showed that HIV-infected serum inhibited the power of normal serum to kill Salmonella. Inhibition was specific to antibodies against lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a component of the cell wall of Salmonella. Hence, HIV-infected sera was able to kill Salmonella strains lacking LPS, and removing LPS immunoglobulin G from infected sera permitted Salmonella killing. Thus, not only does HIV cause defects in cell-mediated immunity but it also seems to impair humoral immunity, with severe consequences for multiple infections.


Nontyphoidal Salmonellae are a major cause of life-threatening bacteremia among HIV-infected individuals. Although cell-mediated immunity controls intracellular infection, antibodies protect against Salmonella bacteremia. We report that high-titer antibodies specific for Salmonella lipopolysaccharide (LPS) are associated with a lack of Salmonella-killing in HIV-infected African adults. Killing was restored by genetically shortening LPS from the target Salmonella or removing LPS-specific antibodies from serum. Complement-mediated killing of Salmonella by healthy serum is shown to be induced specifically by antibodies against outer membrane proteins. This killing is lost when excess antibody against Salmonella LPS is added. Thus, our study indicates that impaired immunity against nontyphoidal Salmonella bacteremia in HIV infection results from excess inhibitory antibodies against Salmonella LPS, whereas serum killing of Salmonella is induced by antibodies against outer membrane proteins.

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