Recombinant CD4-immunoglobulin G (rCD4-IgG) is a 98-kDa human immunoglobulin-like protein that is produced by fusing the gp120 binding domain of CD4 to the Fc portion of the human IgG1 heavy chain. This hybrid molecule was given to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected pregnant women at the onset of labor by intravenous bolus at 1 mg/kg of body weight (group A; n = 3) and 1 week prior to and at the onset of labor by the same route and at the same dose (group B; n = 3). In addition to pharmacokinetic studies, safety in the mothers and infants was determined through routine chemistries, hematology, and urinalysis; immunologic and HIV infection statuses in the infants were assessed through lymphocyte cultures, p24 antigen level determination, culture of HIV from plasma, PCR, lymphocyte subset enumeration, quantitative immunoglobulin analysis, and lymphocyte proliferation. Thirty minutes after the rCD4-IgG injection, concentrations in maternal serum were 12 to 23 micrograms/ml. These concentrations declined slowly, with initial and terminal half-lives (mean +/- standard deviation) of 9.95 +/- 3.23 and 47.6 +/- 22.3 h, respectively. Infants were born 2.6 to 46.5 h after rCD4-IgG administration; concentrations of rCD4-IgG in cord blood ranged from 28 to 107 ng/ml. The half-life of rCD4-IgG in infants ranged from 5 to 29 h. These data demonstrate that the transfer of rCD4-IgG from the mother to the fetus is rapid and that newborns do not appear to have any difficulty eliminating rCD4-IgG. No safety concerns in mothers or infants were encountered. Although the study did not address the question of efficacy, none of the infants was HIV type 1 infected 36 months later. In summary, these findings document that bifunctional immune molecules can be transported across the placenta, and this general approach may be used in the future to block vertical transmission of HIV type 1
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