HIV mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) represents a success story in the HIV/AIDS field given the significant reduction in number of transmission events with the scale-up of antiretroviral treatment and other prevention methods. Nevertheless, MTCT still occurs and better understanding of the basic biology and immunology of transmission will aid in future prevention and treatment efforts. MTCT is a unique setting given that the transmission pair is known and the infant receives passively transferred HIV-specific antibodies from the mother while in utero. Thus, infant exposure to HIV occurs in the face of HIV-specific antibodies, especially during delivery and breastfeeding. This review highlights the immune correlates of protection in HIV MTCT including humoral (neutralizing antibodies, antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity, and binding epitopes), cellular, and innate immune factors. We further discuss the future implications of this research as it pertains to opportunities for passive and active vaccination with the ultimate goal of eliminating HIV MTCT.
Advances in Virus Research, Volume 100, 1 January 2018,