Publications Date
Yoon H, Wake RM, Nakouzi AS, Wang T, Agalliu I, Tiemessen CT, Govender NP, Jarvis JN, Harrison TS, Pirofski LA.
Clin Infect Dis.

Background: Asymptomatic cryptococcal antigenemia (positive blood cryptococcal antigen [CrAg]) is associated with increased mortality in individuals with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) even after adjusting for CD4 count and despite receiving antifungal treatment. The association of antibody immunity with mortality in adults with HIV with cryptococcal antigenemia is unknown.

Methods: Cryptococcal capsular glucuronoxylomannan (GXM)- and naturally occurring β-glucans (laminarin, curdlan)-binding antibodies were measured in blood samples of 197 South Africans with HIV who underwent CrAg screening and were followed up to 6 months. Associations between antibody titers, CrAg status, and all-cause mortality were sought using logistic and Cox regression, respectively.

Results: Compared with CrAg-negative individuals (n = 130), CrAg-positive individuals (n = 67) had significantly higher IgG1 (median, 6672; interquartile range [IQR], 4696-10 414 vs 5343, 3808-7722 μg/mL; P = .007), IgG2 (1467, 813-2607 vs 1036, 519-2012 μg/mL; P = .01), and GXM-IgG (1:170, 61-412 vs 1:117, 47-176; P = .0009) and lower curdlan-IgG (1:47, 11-133 vs 1:93, 40-206; P = .01) titers. GXM-IgG was associated directly with cryptococcal antigenemia adjusted for CD4 count and antiretroviral therapy use (odds ratio, 1.64; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.21 to 2.22). Among CrAg-positive individuals, GXM-IgG was inversely associated with mortality at 6 months adjusted for CD4 count and tuberculosis (hazard ratio, 0.50; 95% CI, .33 to .77).

Conclusions: The inverse association of GXM-IgG with mortality in CrAg-positive individuals suggests that GXM-IgG titer may have prognostic value in those individuals. Prospective longitudinal studies to investigate this hypothesis and identify mechanisms by which antibody may protect against mortality are warranted.

Keywords: GXM-IgG; HIV/AIDS; cryptococcal antigenemia; mortality; serology.