Anti-group B Streptococcus antibody in infants born to mothers with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection

Vaccine. 2015 Jan 29;33(5):621-7. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2014.12.025. Epub 2014 Dec 24.


Background: HIV-exposed uninfected infants have increased infection risk and mortality compared to HIV-unexposed infants. HIV-exposed infants may be at increased risk of invasive GBS disease due to reduced maternal antibody against GBS.

Methods: We quantified antibodies that bind to the surface of whole Group B Streptococcus (GBS) of serotypes Ia, Ib, II, III and V using novel flow cytometry assays in South African HIV-infected and non-infected mothers and their uninfected infants. Antibody-mediated complement C3b/iC3b deposition onto GBS of these serotypes was also quantified by a novel flow cytometry assay.

Results: Geometric mean concentration (GMC) of both surface-binding anti-GBS antibody and antibody-mediated complement deposition onto GBS were reduced in HIV-infected women (n=46) compared to HIV-uninfected women (n=58) for ST1a (surface-binding: 19.3 vs 29.3; p=0.003; complement deposition: 2.9 vs 5.3 SU/mL; p=0.003), STIb (24.9 vs 47.6; p=0.003; 2.6 vs 4.9 SU/mL; p=0.003), STII (19.8 vs 50.0; p=0.001; 3.1 vs 6.2 SU/mL; p=0.001), STIII (27.8 vs 60.1; p=0.001; 2.8 vs 5.3 SU/mL; p=0.001) and STV (121.9 vs 185.6 SU/mL; p<0.001) and in their infants for STIa (complement deposition 9.4 vs 27.0 SU/mL; p=0.02), STIb (13.4 vs 24.5 SU/mL; p=0.02), STII (14.6 vs 42.7 SU/mL; p=0.03), STIII (26.6 vs 62.7 SU/mL; p=0.03) and STV (90.4 vs 165.8 SU/mL; p=0.04). Median transplacental transfer of antibody from HIV-infected women to their infants was reduced compared to HIV-uninfected women for GBS serotypes II (0.42 [IQR 0.22-0.59] vs 1.0 SU/mL [0.42-1.66]; p<0.001), III (0.54 [0.31-1.03] vs 0.95 SU/mL [0.42-3.05], p=0.05) and V (0.51 [0.28-0.79] vs 0.75 SU/mL [0.26-2.9], p=0.04). The differences between infants remained significant at 16 weeks of age.

Conclusions: Maternal HIV infection was associated with lower anti-GBS surface binding antibody concentration and antibody-mediated C3b/iC3b deposition onto GBS bacteria of serotypes Ia, Ib, II, III and V. This may render these infants more susceptible to early and late onset GBS disease.

Keywords: Antibody; Group B Streptococcus; HIV; HIV-exposed-uninfected infants; Immunity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Bacterial / blood*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Complement System Proteins / immunology
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • HIV Infections / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Maternally-Acquired*
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / immunology*
  • South Africa
  • Streptococcus agalactiae / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Complement System Proteins