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A monoclonal antibody against lymphocyte function-associated antigen-1 decreases HIV-1 replication by inducing the secretion of an antiviral soluble factor

Jenna Rychert*, Lindsay Jones, Graham McGrath, Sue Bazner and Eric S Rosenberg

Author Affiliations

Departments of Medicine and Pathology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA

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Virology Journal 2013, 10:120  doi:10.1186/1743-422X-10-120

Published: 18 April 2013



Lymphocyte Function-Associated Antigen-1 (LFA-1) likely plays a role in the pathogenesis of against HIV-1 and is known to facilitate cell-to-cell transmission of the virus. A monoclonal antibody specific for LFA-1 (Cytolin®) was evaluated as a potential therapeutic in pilot studies performed in the mid-1990s. These uncontrolled human studies suggested that administration of this anti-LFA-1 antibody to HIV-1 infected individuals could provide a modest benefit by decreasing circulating HIV-1 RNA and increasing CD4+ T cell counts. At the time, it was proposed that when bound to cytolytic T cells, the antibody inhibited lysis of activated CD4+ T cells. Given the renewed interest in monoclonal antibody therapy for HIV-1 infected individuals, we investigated possible mechanisms of action of this antibody in vitro.


To assess whether this anti-LFA-1 antibody binds to HIV-1, a virus capture assay was performed. Binding of the antibody to cells was assessed using flow cytometry. Inhibition of HIV-1 replication was determined in culture by measuring the amount of p24 produced by ELISA. After co-culture of the antibody with peripheral blood mononuclear cells, supernatants were assayed for cytokines and chemokines using various immunoassays.


Our experiments demonstrate that anti-LFA-1 antibody binds to CCR5 and CXCR4 utilizing strains of HIV-1. It also binds to CD8+ T cells and dendritic cells. When bound to virus prior to infection, there is no decrease in HIV-1 replication, suggesting it does not directly inhibit viral replication via virus binding. When bound to cells, it does not inhibit lysis of CD4+ T cells, as was originally hypothesized. Binding to cells does appear to induce the production of a soluble factor that inhibits HIV-1 replication. We determined that this soluble factor was not any of the cytokines or chemokines with known anti-HIV-1 activity. Further, the antibody does not appear to induce any common immune modulating cytokines or chemokines.


These results suggest that one possible mechanism of action of this anti-LFA-1 antibody is to inhibit HIV-1 replication via the production of a soluble antiviral factor that is induced upon binding to cells.

HIV-1; LFA-1; Monoclonal antibody therapy