The HIV/AIDS pandemic is one of the most devastating pandemics worldwide. Today, the major route of infection by HIV is sexual transmission. One of the most promising strategies for vaccination against HIV sexual infection is the development of a mucosal vaccine, which should be able to induce strong local and systemic protective immunity. It is believed that both humoral and cellular immune responses are needed for inducing a sterilizing protection against HIV. Recently, passive administration of monoclonal neutralizing antibodies in macaques infected by vaginal challenge demonstrated a crucial role of FcγRs in the protection afforded by these antibodies. This questioned about the role of innate and adaptive immune functions, including ADCC, ADCVI, phagocytosis of opsonized HIV particles and the production of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines, in the mechanism of HIV inhibition in vivo. Other monoclonal antibodies - non-neutralizing inhibitory antibodies - which recognize immunogenic epitopes, have been shown to display potent FcγRs-dependent inhibition of HIV replication in vitro. The potential role of these antibodies in protection against sexual transmission of HIV and their biological relevance for the development of an HIV vaccine therefore need to be determined. This review highlights the potential role of FcγRs-mediated innate and adaptive immune functions in the mechanism of HIV protection.
Keywords: FcγR-bearing immune cells; mucosal HIV vaccine; neutralizing antibodies; non-neutralizing inhibitory antibodies.