In a recent genome-wide association study of HIV-1-infected individuals in the Euro-CHAVI cohort, viral load set-point was strongly associated with genotypes defined by two SNPs (rs9264942 and rs2395029) within the human MHC region on chromosome 6. We attempted to confirm this finding in African-Americans and assess if these SNPs are in linkage disequilibrium (LD) with HLA class I alleles that mediate innate and adaptive immunity.
Our analyses relied on 121 African American adolescents with chronic HIV-1 infection and quarterly immunological and virological outcome measures in the absence of therapy.
PCR-based techniques were used to genotype two SNPs along with HLA class I alleles. Their associations with HIV-1 viral load set-point and longitudinal CD4+ and CD8+CD38+ T-cell counts were tested in univariate and multivariate models.
The CC genotype at rs9264942 was associated with reduced viral load but not with immunological outcomes or category of disease control. Consistent associations of HLA-B*57 (mostly B*5703) with favorable virological and immunological outcomes were observed, but not rs2395029G allele at the HCP5 locus, which is in absolute linkage disequilibrium with B*5701 (in individuals of European descent), and not B*5703.
While rs9264942 and B*57 (but not rs2395029G) are clearly associated with control of viral load set-point among African-Americans, fine-mapping of MHC SNPs in populations of African and European descent should help reveal the true variants and the underlying functional mechanisms.
HIV-1; genetics; viral load; African American
Populations of African ancestry continue to account for a disproportionate burden of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) epidemic in the US. We investigated the effects of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I markers in association with virologic and immunologic control of HIV-1 infection among 338 HIV-1 subtype B-infected African Americans in two cohorts: REACH (Reaching for Excellence in Adolescent Care and Health) and HERS (HIV Epidemiology Research Study). One-year treatment-free interval measurements of HIV-1 RNA viral loads and CD4+ T-cells were examined both separately and combined to represent three categories of HIV-1 disease control (76 “controllers,” 169 “intermediates,” and 93 “non-controllers”). Certain previously or newly implicated HLA class I alleles (A*32, A*36, A*74, B*14, B*1510, B*3501, B*45, B*53, B*57, Cw*04, Cw*08, Cw*12, and Cw*18) were associated with one or more of the endpoints in univariate analyses. After multivariable adjustments for other genetic and non-genetic risk factors of HIV-1 progression, the subset of alleles more strongly or consistently associated with HIV-1 disease control included A*32, A*74, B*14, B*45, B*53, B*57, and Cw*08. Carriage of infrequent HLA-B but not HLA-A alleles was associated with more favorable disease outcomes. Certain HLA class I associations with control of HIV-1 infection span the boundaries of race and viral subtype; while others appear confined within one or the other of those boundaries.
HLA class I; Allele frequency; HIV-1 control; African American
Co-infection of syphilis and AIDS has profound implications for the African American community. The purpose of this review is to: evaluate the historical background of HIV and syphilis and their similarities in pathogenesis; review the epidemiology of syphilis and HIV co-infection, and implications for continued prevention efforts; examine the effect of syphilis on HIV transmission and acquisition; and, to examine the effects of HIV infection on syphilis transmission, diagnostic and serologic changes, clinical course, and treatment. The prevalence of HIV is higher in those with syphilis; moreover, the prevalence of HIV and syphilis co-infection is highest in African Americans. There may be humoral and cellular immune similarities. HIV may affect the transmission of syphilis, alter its serologic diagnosis, and accelerate and change the clinical course and response to treatment. In conclusion, combined infection of HIV and syphilis may alter the clinical presentation and course of either disease. There are historical and immunologic similarities and the high prevalence in African Americans compared to other groups is of great importance for prevention efforts.
In healthy, HIV seronegative, CMV seropositive adults, a large proportion of T cells are CMV-specific. High-level CMV-specific T cell responses are associated with accelerated immunologic aging (“immunosenesence”) in the elderly population. The impact of untreated and treated HIV infection on the frequency of these cells remains undefined.
We measured the proportion of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells responding to CMV pp65 and IE proteins was measured using flow cytometry in 685 unique HIV seronegative and seropositive individuals. The proportion of CMV-specific CD8+ T cells was consistently higher in the HIV-seropositive subjects compared to the HIV-seronegative subjects. This HIV effect was observed even in patients who lacked measurable immunodeficiency. Among the HIV-seropositive subjects, CMV-specific CD8+ T cell responses were proportionately lower during recent infection, higher during chronic untreated infection and higher still during long-term antiretroviral treated infection. The CD8+ T cell response to just two CMV proteins (pp65 and IE) was approximately 6% during long-term therapy, which was over twice that seen in HIV-seronegative persons. CMV-specific CD4+ T cell responses followed the same trends, but the magnitude of the effect was smaller.
Long-term successfully treated HIV infected patients have remarkably high levels of CMV-specific effector cells. These levels are similar to that observed in the elderly, but occur at much younger ages. Future studies should focus on defining the potential role of the CMV-specific inflammatory response in non-AIDS morbidity and mortality, including immunosenescence.
Recent reports suggest that Natural Killer (NK) cells may modulate pathogenesis of primary HIV-1 infection. However, HIV dysregulates NK-cell responses. We dissected this bi-directional relationship to understand how HIV impacts NK-cell responses during primary HIV-1 infection.
Paired samples from 41 high-risk, initially HIV-uninfected CAPRISA004 participants were analysed prior to HIV acquisition, and during viraemic primary HIV-1 infection. At the time of sampling post-infection five women were seronegative, 11 women were serodiscordant, and 25 women were seropositive by HIV-1 rapid immunoassay. Flow cytometry was used to measure NK and T-cell activation, NK-cell receptor expression, cytotoxic and cytokine-secretory functions, and trafficking marker expression (CCR7, α4β7). Non-parametric statistical tests were used. Both NK cells and T-cells were significantly activated following HIV acquisition (p = 0.03 and p<0.0001, respectively), but correlation between NK-cell and T-cell activation was uncoupled following infection (pre-infection r = 0.68;p<0.0001; post-infection, during primary infection r = 0.074;p = 0.09). Nonetheless, during primary infection NK-cell and T-cell activation correlated with HIV viral load (r = 0.32'p = 0.04 and r = 0.35;p = 0.02, respectively). The frequency of Killer Immunoglobulin-like Receptor-expressing (KIRpos) NK cells increased following HIV acquisition (p = 0.006), and KIRpos NK cells were less activated than KIRneg NK cells amongst individuals sampled while seronegative or serodiscordant (p = 0.001;p<0.0001 respectively). During HIV-1 infection, cytotoxic NK cell responses evaluated after IL-2 stimulation alone, or after co-culture with 721 cells, were impaired (p = 0.006 and p = 0.002, respectively). However, NK-cell IFN-y secretory function was not significantly altered. The frequency of CCR7+ NK cells was elevated during primary infection, particularly at early time-points (p<0.0001).
Analyses of immune cells before and after HIV infection revealed an increase in both NK-cell activation and KIR expression, but reduced cytotoxicity during acute infection. The increase in frequency of NK cells able to traffic to lymph nodes following HIV infection suggests that these cells may play a role in events in secondary lymphoid tissue.
CXC chemokine ligand 12 (CXCL12), or stromal cell–derived factor 1 (SDF1), is the only known natural ligand for the HIV-1 coreceptor, CXC chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4). A single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the CXCL12 gene (SDF1-3′A) has been associated with disease progression to AIDS in some studies, but not others. Mutations in the CXCR4 gene are generally rare and have not been implicated in HIV-1/AIDS pathogenesis. This study analyzed the SDF1-3′A SNP and performed mutation screening for polymorphic markers in the CXCR4 gene to determine the presence or absence of significant associations with susceptibility to HIV-1 infection. The study consisted of 257 HIV-1–seropositive patients and 113 HIV-1–seronegative controls representing a sub-Saharan African population belonging to the Xhosa ethnic group of South Africa. The SDF1-3′A SNP was associated with an increased risk for HIV-1 infection (P = 0.0319) whereas no significant association was observed between the occurrence of the SDF1-3′A SNP and increased or decreased plasma levels of CXCL12. Comprehensive mutation analysis of the CXCR4 gene confirmed a high degree of genetic conservation within the coding region of this ancient population.
CXC chemokine ligand 12 (CXCL12); CXC chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4); SDF1-3′A single-nucleotide polymorphism; HIV-1 infection risk; African population
Human cyclophilin A, or CypA, encoded by the gene peptidyl prolyl isomerase A (PPIA), is incorporated into the HIV type 1 (HIV-1) virion and promotes HIV-1 infectivity by facilitating virus uncoating. We examined the effect of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and haplotypes within the PPIA gene on HIV-1 infection and disease progression in five HIV-1 longitudinal history cohorts. Kaplan-Meier survival statistics and Cox proportional hazards model were used to assess time to AIDS outcomes. Among eight SNPs tested, two promoter SNPs (SNP3 and SNP4) in perfect linkage disequilibrium were associated with more rapid CD4+ T-cell loss (relative hazard = 3.7, p = 0.003) in African Americans. Among European Americans, these alleles were also associated with a significant trend to more rapid progression to AIDS in a multi-point categorical analysis (p = 0.005). Both SNPs showed differential nuclear protein-binding efficiencies in a gel shift assay. In addition, one SNP (SNP5) located in the 5′ UTR previously shown to be associated with higher ex vivo HIV-1 replication was found to be more frequent in HIV-1-positive individuals than in those highly exposed uninfected individuals. These results implicate regulatory PPIA polymorphisms as a component of genetic susceptibility to HIV-1 infection or disease progression, affirming the important role of PPIA in HIV-1 pathogenesis.
Individual risk of acquiring HIV type 1 (HIV-1) infection and developing AIDS is not equal; some people are more prone to HIV/AIDS than others. Susceptibility to HIV-1/AIDS is likely determined by a combination of environmental, viral, and host genetic factors. Genetic variations in host cellular factors involved in HIV-1 cell entry, replication, and host defense have been found to affect susceptibility to HIV-1/AIDS. In this report, we focused on the gene PPIA that encodes cyclophilin A, a human cellular protein that is incorporated into the HIV-1 virion and promotes viral replication. We studied genetic variation in the PPIA gene in persons with different susceptibility levels to HIV-1 infection or different rates of disease progression. We found that individuals who processed two functional variants in the promoter region of PPIA had higher risk of CD4+ T-cell loss or progression to AIDS-defining diseases. We also observed that an additional variant occurred more frequently in HIV-1-infected individuals compared to HIV-1-exposed, but uninfected, individuals. These results suggest that genetic variation in PPIA may influence host susceptibility to HIV-1 infection or disease progression and targeting PPIA might provide therapeutic benefit.
HIV-associated nephropathy (HIVAN) is the most common disease affecting untreated seropositive patients of African descent. Besides genetic (African descent) and HIV-1 infection (environmental), specific host factors such as activation of renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) have also been demonstrated to play a role in the manifestation of HIVAN. The recent identification of MYH9 as susceptible allele is a key step forward in our understanding for the pathogenesis of focal glomerulosclerosis in people of African-American descent. HIV-1 transgenic models have significantly advanced our knowledge base in terms of role of HIV-1 genes in general and individual gene in particular in the development of renal lesions mimicking HIVAN. These studies suggest that viral replication is not needed for the development of renal lesions. Renal biopsy data from HIVAN patients suggest that renal epithelial cells express HIV-1 genes and thus it may be sufficient to invoke HIVAN phenotype in the presence of specific host and genetic factors. On the other hand, immune response to infection may be required to induce HIV-1 associated immune complex kidney disease (HIVICK). Since renal cell lack conventional HIV-1 receptors, HIV-1 entry into renal cells has been a mystery. Recently, non-conventional pathways have been demonstrated to facilitate HIV-1 entry into renal cells in in vitro studies. These include presence of DEC-205 receptors in renal tubular cells and lipid rafts in podocytes. However, HIV-1 entry through these pathways only allows non-productive infection. It appears that the presence of specific genetic and host factors in in vivo conditions may be facilitating the development of the productive HIV-1 infection in kidney cells.
HIV-associated nephropathy (HIVAN); HIV-associated immune complex kidney disease (HIVICK); Tubular cells; Podocytes; DEC-205
LEDGF/p75, encoded by the PSIP1 gene, interacts with HIV-1 integrase and targets HIV-1 integration into active genes. We investigated the influence of polymorphisms in PSIP1 on HIV-1 acquisition and disease progression in black South Africans.
Integrase binding domain (IBD) of LEDGF/p75 was sequenced in 126 participants. Four haplotype tagging SNPs, SNP1-SNP4 and one exonic SNP, SNP5 were genotyped in 195 HIV-1 seronegative, 52 primary and 403 chronically infected individuals using TaqMan assays. LEDGF/p75 expression was quantified by real-time RT-PCR. The impact of Q472L mutation on the interaction with HIV-1 IN was measured by AlphaScreen.
rs2277191A was more frequent among seropositives (p=0.06, Fisher's exact test), and among individuals followed longitudinally trended towards association with higher likelihood of HIV-1 acquisition (RH=2.21, p=0.08; Cox model) and it was also associated with rapid disease progression (RH=5.98, p=0.04; Cox model). rs12339417C was associated with slower decline of CD4+ T cell (p=0.02) and lower levels of LEDGF/p75 (p<0.01). Seroconverters had higher preinfection levels of LEDGF/p75 (p<0.01) but levels decreased after HIV infection (p=0.02).
Genetic variants of PSIP1 may affect HIV-1 outcomes. Further studies are needed to confirm the effect of genetic variation of PSIP1 on HIV-1 pathogenesis in different cohorts.
To date, CCR5 variants remain the only human genetic factors to be confirmed to impact HIV-1 acquisition. However, protective CCR5 variants are largely absent in African populations, in which sporadic resistance to HIV-1 infection is still unexplained. Here we perform a genome-wide association study (GWAS) in a population of 1,532 individuals from Malawi, a country with high prevalence of HIV-1 infection, to investigate whether common genetic variants associate with HIV-1 susceptibility in Africans. Using single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) present on the genome-wide chip, we also investigated previously reported associations with HIV-1 susceptibility or acquisition. Recruitment was coordinated by the Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology at two sexually transmitted infection clinics. HIV status was determined by HIV rapid tests and nucleic acid testing.
After quality control, the population consisted of 848 high-risk seronegative and 531 HIV-1 seropositive individuals. Logistic regression testing in an additive genetic model was performed for SNPs that passed quality control. No single SNP yielded a significant P-value after correction for multiple testing. The study was sufficiently powered to detect markers with genotype relative risk ≥ 2.0 and minor allele frequencies ≥12%. This is the first GWAS of host determinants of HIV-1 susceptibility, performed in an African population. The absence of any significant association can have many possible explanations: rarer genetic variants or common variants with weaker effect could be responsible for the resistance phenotype; alternatively, resistance to HIV-1 infection might be due to non-genetic parameters or to complex interactions between genes, immunity and environment.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1); acquisition; resistance; Genome Wide Association Study (GWAS); Africa
Ma’am – We read with great interest the article by He et al.  describing the effects on HIV acquisition and disease progression of a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP, rs2814778, -46T→C) that disrupts the promoter region of the Duffy antigen receptor for chemokines (DARC) gene and abolishes gene expression in red blood cells. He et al. reported that HIV-infected African Americans have a frequency of the null homozygous genotype (-46C/C) of 70% while non-HIV infected individuals have a null genotype frequency of 60%. Based on this frequency difference they argued that the null allele confers susceptibility to infection with HIV-1. They also reported that the null genotype is associated with better outcomes amongst those who do become infected, including longer survival, slower loss of CD4+ T-lymphocytes, and delayed progression to HIV-associated dementia.
The roles of cytokines in the progression of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-associated disease are controversial. The patterns of innate cytokine production have been postulated to shift from TH1- to TH2-type cytokines with the progression of HIV-associated disease. Although there have been studies of cytokines in children and adults, no data are available on cytokine production in healthy or HIV-infected adolescents. We analyzed and characterized cytokine mRNA and protein levels for gamma interferon, interleukin 2 (IL-2), IL-4, and tumor necrosis factor alpha and protein levels of IL-6 in both stimulated and unstimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells obtained from a large longitudinal, observational cohort study of HIV-seropositive and -seronegative adolescents. We correlated cytokine results with viral load and CD4+-T-cell counts as critical markers of disease progression in HIV-infected adolescents. These data were used to examine hypotheses related to the TH1-to-TH2 cytokine shift in a sample of HIV-infected adolescents. Five hundred twenty subjects participating in the REACH (Reaching for Excellence in Adolescent Care and Health) Project of the Adolescent Medicine HIV/AIDS Research Network contributed blood samples. Samples selected for the cross-sectional data set analyzed had to meet selection criteria developed to minimize the potential confounding effects of acute intercurrent illnesses or infections, recent vaccination for hepatitis, and altered hormone status and to optimize congruence of cytokine measurements with assays of viral load and CD4+-T-cell counts. Group differences in the proportions of subjects with detectable levels of each cytokine marker were compared. In the subset of subjects with detectable cytokine values, differences in detected values were compared across subgroups defined by HIV serostatus and among HIV-seropositive subjects by three viral load classifications. The study sample was 65% HIV seropositive, 71% African-American, and 75% female with a mean age of 17.4 years. HIV-seropositive subjects were relatively healthy with mean and median CD4+-T-cell counts of 534 and 499 cells/mm3, respectively. Only 8.1% of subjects had CD4+-T-cell counts below 200 cells/mm3, and 25% had viral loads that were below the threshold of detection (<400 copies/ml). Detailed analyses of these data indicate that there were no differences in cytokines detected in HIV-seropositive and HIV-seronegative adolescents, and there was no apparent relationship between the cytokine measurements and the viral load or CD4+-T-cell categorization, the parameters selected as markers of HIV-associated disease status. These adolescents, including the HIV-seropositive subjects, were relatively healthy, and the HIV-infected subjects were at an early stage in the course of their HIV-associated disease. On the basis of our data, we conclude that, early in the course of HIV-associated disease in adolescents, there are no detectable shifts from TH1 to TH2 cytokine production.
Kaposi sarcoma (KS) is the most common AIDS-defining tumour in HIV-infected individuals in Africa. Kaposi sarcoma herpes virus (KSHV) infection precedes development of KS. KSHV co-infection may be associated with worse outcomes in HIV disease and elevated KSHV viral load may be an early marker for advanced HIV disease among untreated patients. We examined the prevalence of KSHV among adults initiating antiretroviral therapy (ART) and compared immunological, demographic and clinical factors between patients seropositive and seronegative for KSHV.
We analyzed cross-sectional data collected from 404 HIV-infected treatment-naïve adults initiating ART at the Themba Lethu Clinic, Johannesburg, South Africa between November 2008 and March 2009. Subjects were screened at ART initiation for antibodies to KSHV lytic K8.1 and latent Orf73 antigens. Seropositivity to KSHV was defined as positive to either lytic KSHV K8.1 or latent KSHV Orf73 antibodies. KSHV viremia was determined by quantitative PCR and CD3, 4 and 8 lymphocyte counts were determined with flow cytometry. Of the 404 participants, 193 (48%) tested positive for KSHV at ART initiation; with 76 (39%) reactive to lytic K8.1, 35 (18%) to latent Orf73 and 82 (42%) to both. One individual presented with clinical KS at ART initiation. The KSHV infected group was similar to those without KSHV in terms of age, race, gender, ethnicity, smoking and alcohol use. KSHV infected individuals presented with slightly higher median CD3 (817 vs. 726 cells/mm3) and CD4 (90 vs. 80 cells/mm3) counts than KSHV negative subjects. We found no associations between KSHV seropositivity and body mass index, tuberculosis status, WHO stage, HIV RNA levels, full blood count or liver function tests at initiation. Those with detectable KSHV viremia (n = 19), however, appeared to present with signs of more advanced HIV disease including anemia and WHO stage 3 or 4 defining conditions compared to those in whom the virus was undetectable.
We demonstrate a high prevalence of KSHV among HIV-infected adults initiating ART in a large urban public-sector HIV clinic. KSHV viremia but not KSHV seropositivity may be associated with markers of advanced HIV disease.
Kaposi sarcoma; Kaposi sarcoma herpes virus; resource-poor setting; antiretroviral therapy
This study examines the impact of alcohol use and HIV infection on neuropsychological performance in a sample of 497 community-resident African American men. HIV serostatus and alcohol use (during the past 12 months) exerted an interactive effect on psychomotor speed, reaction time, and motor speed, and in general, HIV infected heavy drinkers evidenced significantly poorer performance than other HIV positive subjects. Main effects for HIV serostatus were noted for reaction time, with seronegative men performing better than seropositives. This study examines a sample of men who continue to show increases in HIV infection, however, sample specific issues such as comorbid substance use, past histories of head injury, and lack of data on alcohol abuse and dependence require caution in definitively attributing the findings solely to alcohol and HIV. However, these findings suggest that relatively recent heavy alcohol use may represent a potential risk factor for more rapid or pronounced cognitive decline in HIV positive individuals, and that these patterns may be even more pronounced in persons with comorbid substance use.
Pregnant women are at an increased risk for malarial infection. Plasmodium falciparum accumulates in the placenta and is associated with dysregulated immune function and poor birth outcomes. Malarial pigment (hemozoin) also accumulates in the placenta and may modulate local immune function. In this study, the impact of hemozoin on cytokine production by intervillous blood mononuclear cells from malaria-infected placentas was investigated. There was a dose-dependent, suppressive effect of hemozoin on production of gamma interferon (IFN-γ), with less of an effect on tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and interleukin-10, in human immunodeficiency virus-seronegative (HIV−) women. In contrast, IFN-γ and TNF-α production tended to increase in HIV-seropositive women with increasing hemozoin levels. Production patterns of cytokines, especially IFN-γ in HIV− women, followed different trends as a function of parasite density and hemozoin level. The findings suggest that the influences of hemozoin accumulation and high-density parasitemia on placental cytokine production are not equivalent and may involve different mechanisms, all of which may operate differently in the context of HIV infection. Cytokine production dysregulated by accumulation of hemozoin or high-density parasitemia may induce pathology and impair protective immunity in HIV-infected and -uninfected women.
The hepatitis A virus cellular receptor 1 (HAVCR1) gene is highly polymorphic, and several variants have been associated with susceptibility to allergic and autoimmune diseases. The HAVCR1 gene region was identified as a candidate for hepatitis C virus (HCV) natural clearance in a genotyping study of selected immune response genes in both European-American and African-American populations. The aim of the present study was to explore the influence of HAVCR1 in the outcome of HCV infection in the Spanish population. Three cohorts, consisting of 354 subjects with persistent HCV infection (285 with persistent HCV monoinfection and 69 with natural clearance), 182 coinfected HIV/HCV patients, and 320 controls, were included. Samples were genotyped in several polymorphic positions, insertion/deletion variants in exon 4 and tag single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), in order to define previously described HAVCR1 haplotypes (haplotypes A to D). No statistically significant differences were observed with spontaneous resolution of infection or with viral clearance after treatment. Nevertheless, different rates of infection by viral genotypes (G's) were observed among the HAVCR1 haplotypes. Individuals bearing haplotype C had the highest viral G1 infection rate when compared to individuals bearing other haplotypes (75.82% versus 57.72%, respectively; corrected P value [Pc], 3.2 × 10−4; odds ratio [OR], 2.30; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.51 to 3.47). Thus, HAVCR1 could be involved in susceptibility or resistance to infection by a particular HCV genotype.
There is need for locally-derived age-specific clinical laboratory reference ranges of healthy Africans in sub-Saharan Africa. Reference values from North American and European populations are being used for African subjects despite previous studies showing significant differences. Our aim was to establish clinical laboratory reference values for African adolescents and young adults that can be used in clinical trials and for patient management.
Methods and Findings
A panel of 298, HIV-seronegative individuals aged 13–34 years was randomly selected from participants in two population-based cross-sectional surveys assessing HIV prevalence and other sexually transmitted infections in western Kenya. The adolescent (<18 years)-to-adults (≥18 years) ratio and the male-to-female ratio was 1∶1. Median and 95% reference ranges were calculated for immunohematological and biochemistry values. Compared with U.S-derived reference ranges, we detected lower hemoglobin (HB), hematocrit (HCT), red blood cells (RBC), mean corpuscular volume (MCV), neutrophil, glucose, and blood urea nitrogen values but elevated eosinophil and total bilirubin values. Significant gender variation was observed in hematological parameters in addition to T-bilirubin and creatinine indices in all age groups, AST in the younger and neutrophil, platelet and CD4 indices among the older age group. Age variation was also observed, mainly in hematological parameters among males. Applying U.S. NIH Division of AIDS (DAIDS) toxicity grading to our results, 40% of otherwise healthy study participants were classified as having an abnormal laboratory parameter (grade 1–4) which would exclude them from participating in clinical trials.
Hematological and biochemistry reference values from African population differ from those derived from a North American population, showing the need to develop region-specific reference values. Our data also show variations in hematological indices between adolescent and adult males which should be considered when developing reference ranges. This study provides the first locally-derived clinical laboratory reference ranges for adolescents and young adults in western Kenya.
Some individuals remain inexplicably seronegative and lack evidence for human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection by conventional serologic or virologic testing despite repeated high-risk virus exposures. Here, we examined 10 exposed seronegative (ES) individuals exhibiting HIV-1-specific cytotoxicity for the presence of HIV-1. We discovered HIV-1 DNA in resting CD4+ T cells (mean, 0.05 ± 0.01 copies per million cells) at multiple visits spanning 69 to 130 weeks in two ES individuals at levels that were on average 104- to 106-fold lower than those of other HIV-1-infected populations reported. Sequences of HIV-1 envelope and gag genes remained markedly homogeneous, indicating little to undetectable virus replication. These results provide the evidence for HIV-1 infection in ES individuals below the detection limit of standard assays, suggesting that extraordinary control of infection can occur. The two HIV-infected ES individuals remained healthy and were not superinfected with other HIV-1 strains despite continued high-risk sexual exposures to multiple HIV-infected partners. Understanding the mechanisms that confer diminished replicative capacity of HIV-1 in these hosts is paramount to developing strategies for protection against and control of HIV-1 infection.
There is an urgent need to improve our understanding of the mucosal immuno-pathogenesis of HIV acquisition in the female genital tract, particularly in high-risk women such as female sex workers (FSWs). Cervical biopsy samples offer technical advantages over cytobrush sampling, but there are concerns that this might increase HIV acquisition, particularly if healing is slow and/or women do not abstain from sex during healing.
Cervical biopsy samples and cervico-vaginal swabs for co-infection diagnostics, prostate specific antigen (PSA) and immune studies were collected from 59 women, including HIV seropositive and HIV-exposed seronegative (HESN) FSWs as well as lower risk women from Nairobi, Kenya. A clinical-demographic questionnaire was administered and women were instructed to avoid sexual intercourse, douching and the insertion of tampons for 14 days. All participants underwent a repeat exam to assess healing within the 14 days, and had HIV diagnostics at six months. Cervical sampling was well tolerated, and 82% of participants had healed macroscopically by 5 days. Both self-report and PSA screening suggested high levels of compliance with pre- and post-procedure abstinence. Delayed healing was associated with vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC) and HESN status. At six-month follow up all low-risk and HESN participants remained HIV seronegative.
Cervical biopsy sampling is a safe and well-tolerated method to obtain cervical biopsies in this context, particularly if participants with VVC are excluded. As healing could be delayed up to 11 days, it is important to support (both financially and with rigorous counseling) a period of post-procedure abstinence to minimize HIV risk.
African-American men who have sex with men remain at disproportionately greater risk for contracting human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. While high HIV seroincidence has been documented among homosexual African-American men, behavioral research has rarely studied the HIV risk issues confronting these men. This study assessed a sample of 253 men who have sex with men to determine if African-American (n = 79) and white (n = 174) men report different rates of HIV risk behaviors and differ in characteristics indicative of risk. African-American men who have sex with men were more likely to be HIV-seropositive, to report past treatment for gonorrhea and syphilis, and to have a recent unprotected sex partner known or believed to be HIV-seropositive. Multivariate analyses of covariance, controlling for group differences in age, education, and income, revealed that African-American men who have sex with men were less open about their sexual orientation, scored lower in HIV risk behavior knowledge, had more female sexual partners, and more frequently used cocaine in association with sex relative to white men who have sex with men. Human immunodeficiency virus prevention programs tailored to the needs and risk issues of African-American men who have sex with men are needed.
Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) is the most frequent cause of genital ulcer disease worldwide and has been associated with increased risk for HIV-1 acquisition and transmission. We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of risk factors for HSV-2 infection among HIV-1 uninfected partners, whose partners were co-infected with HIV-1 and HSV-2.
Between November 2004 and April 2007, 3408 HIV-discordant couples, in which the HIV-1 infected partners were HSV-2 seropositive with CD4 250 cells/mm3 or greater, were enrolled in an HSV-2 suppression trial to prevent HIV-1 transmission at 14 sites in 7 African countries. Clinical & behavioral data, HSV-2 and HIV-1 testing were conducted at enrolment. Univariate and multivariate Poisson regression analyses were performed separately, by gender of the HIV-1 infected partner.
Among 3354 HIV-1 uninfected participants, 32% were female and overall 71% were HSV-2 seropositive. Among couples with female HIV-1 infected partners, HIV-1 plasma RNA [aPR 1.03; 95% CI: 0.99 to 1.06; p = 0.11] and CD4 count [aPR 1.00; 95% CI: 0.98 to 1.01; p = 0.48] in the HSV-2/HIV-1 dually infected female and circumcision in the HIV-1 uninfected male partner [aPR 0.94; 95% CI: 0.88 to 1.00; p = 0.06] were not associated with reduced risk of HSV-2 seropositivity, after adjusting for other factors.
In this cross-sectional analysis of African HIV-1 serodiscordant heterosexual couples with prevalent HSV-2 infection in the HIV-1 infected partner, HIV-1 plasma RNA and CD4 count in the dually-infected partner and male circumcision in the HIV-1 uninfected partner were not associated with HSV-2 concordance.
Hepatitis B viral infection remains a serious global health problem despite the availability of a highly effective vaccine. Approximately 5% of HBV-infected adults develop chronic hepatitis B, which may result in liver cirrhosis or hepatocellular carcinoma. Variants of interleukin-10 (IL10) have been previously associated with chronic hepatitis B infection and progression to hepatocellular carcinoma. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs, n = 42) from the IL10, IL19, and IL20 gene regions were examined for an association with HBV infection outcome, either chronic or recovered, in a nested case-control study of African Americans and European Americans. Among African Americans, three nominally statistically significant SNP associations in IL10, two in IL20, and one haplotype association were observed with different HBV infection outcomes (P = 0.005–0.04). The SNP, rs1518108, in IL20 nominally deviated significantly from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium in African Americans, with a large excess of heterozygotes in chronic HBV-infected cases (P = 0.0006), which suggests a strong genetic effect. Among European Americans, a nominally statistically significant SNP association in IL20, as well as an IL20 haplotype were associated with HBV recovery (P = 0.01–0.04). These results suggest that IL10 and IL20 gene variants influence HBV infection outcome and encourage the pursuit of further studies of these cytokines in HBV pathogenesis.
Interleukin-10; Inflammation; African American; Immunogenetics; Hepatitis b; HIV co-infection
Marijuana use was recently reported to have a positive cross-sectional association with human papillomavirus (HPV)-related head and neck cancer. Laboratory data suggest that marijuana could have an immunomodulatory effect. Little is known, however, regarding the effects of marijuana use on cervical HPV or neoplasia. Therefore, we studied the natural history (ie, prevalence, incident detection, clearance/persistence) of cervical HPV and cervical neoplasia (ie, squamous intraepithelial lesions [SIL]) in a large prospective cohort of 2584 HIV-seropositive and 915 HIV-seronegative women. Marijuana use was classified as ever/never, current/not current, and by frequency and duration of use. No positive associations were observed between use of marijuana, and either HPV infection or SIL. The findings were similar amongst HIV-seropositive and HIV-seronegative women, and in tobacco smokers and non-smokers. These data suggest that marijuana use does not increase the burden of cervical HPV infection or SIL.
marijuana; cannabis; HPV; cervical; neoplasia; HIV
HIV-seropositive patients are at higher risk for atherosclerosis than HIV-seronegative persons. This has been variably attributed to antiretroviral drug toxicity, immunodeficiency, and/or HIV-associated inflammation. To evaluate the contributions of these factors to HIV-associated atherosclerosis, we assessed carotid artery intima-media thickness (IMT) in a diverse cohort of HIV-seronegative and seropositive adults, including a unique group of HIV-infected patients who were untreated, had undetectable viral loads and had preserved CD4+ T cell counts (HIV controllers).
Methods and Results
Carotid IMT was measured in 494 subjects, including 33 HIV controllers and 93 HIV-seronegative controls. HIV controllers had higher IMT than seronegative controls even after adjustment for traditional risk factors (p=0.003). IMT in controllers was similar to antiretroviral-untreated patients with detectable viremia. Across all subjects, IMT was strongly associated with the presence of HIV disease rather than viral load or CD4+ T cell count. C-reactive protein was higher in HIV controllers than HIV-seronegative persons. Antiretroviral drug exposure was also associated with higher IMT.
Increased atherosclerosis with HIV infection can occur in the absence of antiretroviral therapy, detectable viremia, or overt immunodeficiency. Chronic inflammation—which is higher in controllers than in HIV-uninfected persons—may account for early atherosclerosis in these patients.
To examine the prevalence and biopsychosocial predictors of sub-optimal virologic response to highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected adolescents.
Population-based cohort study.
Sixteen academic medical centers across thirteen cities in the United States.
One hundred and fifty four HIV-infected adolescents who presented for at least two consecutive visits after initiation of HAART.
Main Outcome Measures
Viral load (plasma concentration of HIV RNA), CD4+ T-lymphocyte count.
Of the 154 adolescents enrolled in the study, 50 (32.5%) demonstrated early and sustained virologic suppression while receiving HAART. The remaining 104 adolescents (67.5%) had a poor virologic response. Adequate adherence (>50%) to HAART—reported by 70.8% of respondents—was associated with a 60% reduced odds of suboptimal virologic suppression in a multivariable logistic regression model (adjusted odds ratio = 0.4; 95% confidence interval : 0.2 – 1.0). Exposure to sub-optimal antiretroviral therapy (ART) prior to HAART, on the other hand, was associated with more than a two-fold increased odds of sub-optimal virologic response (adjusted odds ratio = 2.6; 95% confidence interval: 1.1 – 5.7).
Fully two-thirds of HIV-infected adolescents in the current study demonstrated a sub-optimal virologic response to HAART. Non-adherence and prior single or dual ART were associated with subsequent poor virologic responses to HAART. These predictors of HAART failure echo findings in pediatric and adult populations. Given the unique developmental stage of adolescence, age-specific interventions are indicated to address high rates of non-adherence and therapeutic failure.
HIV; Adolescent; Antiretroviral Therapy; Highly Active; Adherence; Viral Load; CD4 Lymphocyte Count