Probiotic therapy during vaccination alters antibody response to SHIV infection but not to commensals

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



AIDS research and human retroviruses




The induction of robust circulating antibody titers is a key goal of HIV-1 vaccination. Probiotic supplementation is an established strategy to enhance microbiota and boost antibody responses to vaccines. A recent study tested whether oral probiotics could enhance vaccine-specific mucosal immunity by testing vaccination with and without supplementation in a Rhesus macaque Simian-Human Immunodeficiency Virus challenge model. Although supplementation was not associated with protection, the effects of probiotics on immunity after infection were not examined. To address this question, we measured antibody titers to HIV Env and commensal bacteria in plasma from the vaccination/supplementation time points as well as after SHIV acquisition. We found that a trend toward lower HIV Env-specific titers in the animals given probiotics plus vaccine became greater after SHIV infection. Significantly lower IgA titers were observed in animals vaccinated and supplemented compared to vaccine alone due to a delay in antibody kinetics at week 2 post infection. We observed no difference, however, in titers to commensal bacteria during probiotic supplementation or after SHIV infection. These results suggest that probiotic supplementation may be a strategy for reducing IgA-specific HIV antibodies in the plasma, a correlate associated with increased HIV infection in the RV144 clinical trial.


Microbiology, Immunology, and Tropical Medicine