To assess the impact of long-term combined antiretroviral therapy (cART) on HIV-RNA and HIV-DNA levels in cervicovaginal secretions of HIV-1-infected women with sustained undetectable plasma RNA viral load (PVL); to explore factors predictive of residual viral shedding; and to evaluate the risk of heterosexual transmission.
Women with undetectable PVL (<50 copies/mL) for >6 months were included in this cross-sectional study. HIV-RNA and HIV-DNA were measured in blood and cervicovaginal lavage fluid (CVL). Women were systematically tested for genital infections. The risk of transmission to male partners during unprotected intercourse was estimated.
Eighty-one women composed the study population: all had HIV-RNA <40 copies/mL in CVL. HIV-DNA was detectable in CVL of 29/78 patients (37%). There was a weak positive correlation between HIV-DNA levels in PBMCs and CVL (r = 0.20; p = 0.08). In multivariate analysis, two factors were associated with HIV-DNA detection in CVL: previous AIDS-defining illnesses (OR = 11; 95%CI = 2–61) and current residual viremia (20
In our experience, HIV-RNA was undetectable in the genital tract of women with sustained control of PVL on cART. HIV-DNA shedding persisted in about one third of cases, with no substantial evidence of residual infectiousness.
Cervicovaginal HIV level (CV-VL) influences HIV transmission. Plasma viral load (PVL) correlates with CV-VL but discordance is frequent. We evaluated how PVL, behavioral, immunologic and local factors/conditions individually and collectively correlate with CV-VL.
CV-VL was measured in cervicovaginal lavage fluid (CVL) over 976 person-visits for 481 HIV-infected women in a longitudinal cohort study. We correlated identified factors with CV-VL at individual person-visits and detectable/undetectable PVL strata by univariate and multivariate linear regression, and with shedding pattern (never, intermittent, persistent ≥3 shedding-visits) in 136 women with ≥3 visits by ordinal logistic regression.
450/959 (46.9%) of person-visits with available PVL were discordant. 435/959 (45.3%) had detectable PVL with undetectable CV-VL and 15/959 (1.6%) undetectable PVL with detectable CV-VL. Lower CV-VL correlated with HAART usage (P=0.01). Higher CV-VL correlated with higher PVL (P<0.001), inflammation-associated cellular changes (P=0.03), cervical ectopy (P=0.009), exudate (P=0.005), and trichomoniasis (P=0.03). In multivariate analysis of the PVL-detectable stratum, increased CV-VL correlated with the same factors and friability (P=0.05), while with undetectable PVL, decreased CV-VL correlated with HAART use (P=0.04). In longitudinal analysis, never (40.4%) and intermittent (44.9%) shedding were most frequent. Higher-frequency shedders were more likely to have higher initial PVL (OR=2.47/log10 increase), HSV-2 seropositivity (OR=3.21) and alcohol use (OR=2.20).
While PVL correlates strongly with CV-VL, discordance is frequent. When PVL is detectable, cervicovaginal inflammatory conditions correlate with increased shedding. However, genital shedding is sporadic and not reliably predicted by associated factors. HAART, by reducing PVL, is the most reliable means of reducing cervicovaginal shedding.
We have adapted our established Alu PCR assay for proviral DNA and PCR for total cellular DNA to a real-time PCR format and applied these to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive specimens collected for routine determination of the plasma viral load (pVL). In a cohort of five patients, measurements of integrated viral load (iVL) and cell-associated viral load (cVL) in CD4+ cells isolated by a single positive selection step were not indicative of HIV DNA levels in the circulation, and further analysis was performed on peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). In a cohort of 46 samples total cVL was quantitated in most samples, but iVL could be quantitated in only 47.8%, since in 26% iVL was undetectable and in 21.7% the results were invalid due to high levels of unintegrated HIV DNA. There was no correlation of cVL or iVL with pVL, CD4 count, or duration of successful antiretroviral treatment. Out of 26 patients with undetectable pVL, 4 patients failed therapy within the subsequent 12 months and had higher than average iVL, but this was not the case for cVL. Among nine patients with long-term undetectable pVL, no consistent decline in cVL or iVL was seen with time, and changes in cVL and iVL within a patient could be concordant or discordant. These results show that cVL and iVL can be coordinately measured in PBMC from clinical samples but do not correlate with pVL, CD4 counts, or length of suppressive antiretroviral therapy. Interestingly, a high iVL (but not a high cVL) in patients with undetectable pVL was associated with subsequent treatment failure.
Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) genomes often carry one or more mutations associated with drug resistance upon transmission into a therapy-naïve individual. We assessed the prevalence and clinical significance of transmitted drug resistance (TDR) in chronically-infected therapy-naïve patients enrolled in a multi-center cohort in North America. Pre-therapy clinical significance was quantified by plasma viral load (pVL) and CD4+ cell count (CD4) at baseline. Naïve bulk sequences of HIV-1 protease and reverse transcriptase (RT) were screened for resistance mutations as defined by the World Health Organization surveillance list. The overall prevalence of TDR was 14.2%. We used a Bayesian network to identify co-transmission of TDR mutations in clusters associated with specific drugs or drug classes. Aggregate effects of mutations by drug class were estimated by fitting linear models of pVL and CD4 on weighted sums over TDR mutations according to the Stanford HIV Database algorithm. Transmitted resistance to both classes of reverse transcriptase inhibitors was significantly associated with lower CD4, but had opposing effects on pVL. In contrast, position-specific analyses of TDR mutations revealed substantial effects on CD4 and pVL at several residue positions that were being masked in the aggregate analyses, and significant interaction effects as well. Residue positions in RT with predominant effects on CD4 or pVL (D67 and M184) were re-evaluated in causal models using an inverse probability-weighting scheme to address the problem of confounding by other mutations and demographic or risk factors. We found that causal effect estimates of mutations M184V/I ( pVL) and D67N/G ( and pVL) were compensated by K103N/S and K219Q/E/N/R. As TDR becomes an increasing dilemma in this modern era of highly-active antiretroviral therapy, these results have immediate significance for the clinical management of HIV-1 infections and our understanding of the ongoing adaptation of HIV-1 to human populations.
The relationship between CD4+ T-cell counts determined soon after seroconversion with HIV-1 (baseline CD4), nadir CD4, and CD4 levels attained during highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) is unknown.
Longitudinal, including baseline (at or soon after HIV diagnosis), intermediate (nadir), and distal (post-HAART) CD4+ T-cell counts were assessed in 1085 seroconverting subjects who achieved viral load suppression from a large well-characterized cohort. The association of baseline with post-HAART CD4+ T-cell count was determined after adjustment for other relevant covariates.
A higher baseline CD4+ T-cell count predicted a greater post- HAART CD4+ T-cell count, independent of the nadir and other explanatory variables. Together, baseline and nadir strongly predicted the post-HAART CD4+ count such that a high baseline and lower nadir were associated with a maximal immune recovery after HAART. Likelihood of recovery of the baseline count after HAART was significantly higher when the nadir/baseline count ratio was consistently ≥0.6.
Among viral load suppressing seroconverters, the absolute CD4+ T-cell count attained post-HAART is highly dependent on both baseline and nadir CD4+ T-cell counts. These associations further support the early diagnosis and initiation of HAART among HIV-infected persons.
CD4 count; highly active antiretroviral therapy; outcomes; predictors; treatment response
We examined the effect of cognitive fatigue on the Attention Networks Test (ANT). Participants were 228 non-demented older adults. Cognitive fatigue was operationally defined as decline in alerting, orienting, and executive attention performance over the course ANT. Anchored in a theoretical model implicating the frontal basal ganglia circuitry as the core substrate of fatigue, we hypothesized that cognitive fatigue would be observed only in executive attention. Consistent with our prediction, significant cognitive fatigue effect was observed in executive attention but not in alerting or orienting. In contrast, orienting improved over the course of the ANT and alerting showed a trend, though insignificant, that was consistent with learning. Cognitive fatigue is conceptualized as an executive failure to maintain and optimize performance over acute but sustained cognitive effort resulting in performance that is lower and more variable than the individual’s optimal ability.
Cognitive Fatigue; Executive Control; Aging; Attention Networks
Longitudinal percentage change of eight HIV-1 gag-pol mRNA cellular reservoirs from HIV-infected subjects on antiretroviral therapy was ascertained by simultaneous ultrasensitive subpopulation staining/hybridization in situ (SUSHI).
Materials & methods
Serial peripheral blood mononuclear cells were taken from three subjects with treatment success, limited response and viral breakthrough plasma viral load (PVL) profiles. SUSHI was carried out on monocytes, macrophages, CD4+ cells and naive, memory and activated T-cell reservoirs followed with broad light scatter flow cytometry.
All gag-pol+ reservoirs declined in the treatment success patient and similar to PVL. Only some gag-pol+ reservoirs responded similarly to PVL for the limited treatment patient, and most gag-pol+ reservoirs increased 16 weeks prior to PVL breakthrough in the viral breakthrough patient.
SUSHI measures changes in a wide range of gag-pol+ reservoirs in response to antiretroviral therapy.
activated memory T cell; antiretroviral; cellular reservoirs; HIV-1; macrophage; memory T cell; monocyte; naive T cell; total CD4+; transcriptionally active
Cellular immune responses are thought to be an important antiviral host defense, but the relationship between virus-specific T-helper and cytotoxic-T-lymphocyte (CTL) responses has not been defined. To investigate a potential link between these responses, we examined functional human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-specific memory CTL precursor frequencies and p24-specific proliferative responses in a cohort of infected untreated persons with a wide range of viral loads and CD4 cell counts. Levels of p24-specific proliferative responses positively correlated with levels of Gag-specific CTL precursors and negatively correlated with levels of plasma HIV-1 RNA. These data linking the levels of HIV-specific CTL with virus-specific helper cell function during chronic viral infection provide cellular immunologic parameters to guide therapeutic and prophylactic vaccine development.
Periventricular Leukomalacia (PVL) affects white matter, but grey matter injuries have also been reported, particularly in the dorsomedial nucleus and the cortex. Both structures have been related to working memory (WM) processes. The aim of this study was to compare behavioral performances and EEG power spectra during a visuospatial working memory task (VSWMT) of toddlers with a history of PVL and healthy toddlers.
A prospective, comparative study of WM was conducted in toddlers with a history of PVL and healthy toddlers. The task responses and the EEG narrow-band power spectra during a VSWMT were compared in both groups. The EEG absolute power was analyzed during the following three conditions: baseline, attention and WM retention. The number of correct responses was higher in the healthy group (20.5±5.0) compared to the PVL group (16.1±3.9) (p = 0.04). The healthy group had absolute power EEG increases (p≤0.05) during WM compared to the attention condition in the bilateral frontal and right temporal, parietal and occipital regions in frequencies ranging from 1.17 to 2.34 Hz and in the right temporal, parietal and occipital regions in frequencies ranging from 14.06 to 15.23 Hz. In contrast, the PVL group had absolute power increases (p≤0.05) in the bilateral fronto-parietal, left central and occipital regions in frequencies that ranged from 1.17 to 3.52 Hz and in the bilateral frontal and right temporal regions in frequencies ranging from 9.37 to 19.14 Hz.
This study provides evidence that PVL toddlers have visuospatial WM deficits and a very different pattern of absolute power increases compared to a healthy group of toddlers, with greater absolute power in the low frequency range and widespread neuronal networks in the WM retention phase.
CD4+ regulatory T cells (Tregs) are essential for the maintenance of the immune system's equilibrium, by dampening the activation of potential auto-reactive T cells and avoiding excessive immune activation. To correctly perform their function, Tregs must be maintained at the right proportion with respect to effector T cells. Since this equilibrium is frequently disrupted in individuals infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), we hypothesize that its deregulation could hamper immune reconstitution in patients with poor CD4+ T cell recovery under highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). We analysed Tregs percentages amongst CD4+ T cells in 53 HIV-infected patients under HAART, with suppression of viral replication and distinct levels of immune reconstitution. As controls, 51 healthy individuals were also analysed. We observed that amongst the patients with Nadir values (the lowest CD4+ T cell counts achieved) <200 cells/µL, the individuals with high Tregs percentages (≥10% of total CD4+ T cells) had the worse CD4+ T cell reconstitution. In accordance, the well-described direct correlation between the Nadir value and CD4+ T cell reconstitution is clearly more evident in individuals with high Tregs proportions. Furthermore, we observed a strong negative correlation between Tregs percentages and CD4+ T cell recovery among immunological non-responder HIV+ individuals. All together, this work shows that high Tregs frequency is an important factor associated with sub-optimal CD4+ T cell recovery. This is particularly relevant for immunological non-responders with low Nadir values. Our results suggest that the Tregs proportion might be of clinical relevance to define cut-offs for HAART initiation.
The disease burden of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) - acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is highest in sub-Saharan Africa but there are few studies on the associated neurocognitive disorders in this region. The objectives of this study were to determine whether Western neuropsychological (NP) methods are appropriate for use in Cameroon, and to evaluate cognitive function in a sample of HIV-infected adults.
We used a battery of 19 NP measures in a cross-sectional study with 44 HIV+ adults and 44 demographically matched HIV- controls, to explore the validity of these NP measures in Cameroon, and evaluate the effect of viral infection on seven cognitive ability domains.
In this pilot study, the global mean z-score on the NP battery showed worse overall cognition in the HIV+ individuals. Significantly lower performance was seen in the HIV+ sample on tests of executive function, speed of information processing, working memory, and psychomotor speed. HIV+ participants with AIDS performed worse than those with less advanced HIV disease.
Similar to findings in Western cohorts, our results in Cameroon suggest that HIV infection, particularly in advanced stages, is associated with worse performance on standardized, Western neurocognitive tests. The tests used here appear to be promising for studying NeuroAIDS in sub-Saharan Africa.
We examined the cross-sectional relationships between malaria parasitemia and CD4 T cell count and viral load among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected pregnant women. We then followed women to investigate whether or not baseline parasitemia predicted CD4 T cell counts or viral loads > 90 days post-baseline or predicted time to HIV disease stage 3 or 4 or acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)-related death (ARD). Parasitemia level was nonlinearly associated with viral load at baseline and among measurements taken > 90 days post-baseline; women with low baseline parasitemia, versus none, had higher viral loads at both time points. Any baseline parasitemia predicted an increased rate of ARD among women with baseline CD4 T cell counts ≥ 500 cells/µL (ratio rate [RR] = 2.6; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.1–6.0; P test for heterogeneity = 0.05). Further study is warranted to determine whether or not parasitemia is especially detrimental to individuals with lower levels of immunosuppression or chronic low parasitemia.
In healthy individuals and those with insomnia, poor sleep quality is associated with decrements in performance on tests of cognition, especially executive function. Sleep disturbances and cognitive deficits are both prevalent in Parkinson’s disease (PD). Sleep problems occur in over 75% of patients, with sleep fragmentation and decreased sleep efficiency being the most common sleep complaints, but their relation to cognition is unknown. We examined the association between sleep quality and cognition in PD. In 35 non-demented individuals with PD and 18 normal control adults (NC), sleep was measured using 24-hr wrist actigraphy over 7 days. Cognitive domains tested included attention and executive function, memory and psychomotor function. In both groups, poor sleep was associated with worse performance on tests of attention/executive function but not memory or psychomotor function. In the PD group, attention/executive function was predicted by sleep efficiency, whereas memory and psychomotor function were not predicted by sleep quality. Psychomotor and memory function were predicted by motor symptom severity. This study is the first to demonstrate that sleep quality in PD is significantly correlated with cognition and that it differentially impacts attention and executive function, thereby furthering our understanding of the link between sleep and cognition.
Parkinson’s disease; Sleep; Cognition; Executive function; Actigraphy; Memory
Few studies have specifically examined proviral load (PVL) and clonal evolution of human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1)-infected cells in vertically infected children.
Sequential samples (from ages 1 to 16 years) from 3 HTLV-1-infected children (cases A, B and C) in the Jamaica Mother Infant Cohort Study were analyzed for their PVL and clonal expansion of HTLV-1-infected cells in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) by inverse-long PCR.
The baseline PVL (per 100,000 PBMCs) of case A was 260 (at 1 year of age) and of case B it was 1,867 (at 3 years of age), and they remained constant for more than 10 years. Stochastic patterns of clonal expansion of HTLV-1-infected cells were predominately detected. In contrast, case C, who had lymphadenopathy, seborrheic dermatitis and hyperreflexia, showed an increase in PVL from 2,819 at 1.9 years to 13,358 at 13 years of age, and expansion of 2 dominant clones.
The clonal expansion of HTLV-1-infected cells is induced in early childhood after infection acquired from their mothers. Youths with high PVL and any signs and symptoms associated with HTLV-1 infection should be closely monitored.
HTLV-1 infection; Clonal expansion, infected cells; Transmission, vertical
Background: Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) has been considered a transitional state between normal aging and dementia, characterised by memory impairment but normal general cognitive functioning. Recently other cognitive deficits have been reported. This has led to a modification of MCI criteria.
Objective: To examine which neuropsychological tests most clearly distinguish MCI subjects from normal controls.
Methods: 112 consecutive MCI subjects and 35 controls were included in the study. The diagnosis of MCI was based on an objective history of cognitive decline and a neuropsychiatric examination, comprising instruments STEP, I-Flex, MMSE, and CDR. Participants were examined with 21 neuropsychological tests in the cognitive domains speed/attention, memory and learning, visuospatial function, language, and executive function.
Results: Controls were significantly older. No differences were found in education or general intellectual capacity. Controls performed significantly better than MCI on tests within all five cognitive domains. The clearest differences were seen on language tests, followed by executive function, and learning and memory. Only two subjects (1.8%) were purely amnestic; 17% showed no impairment compared with controls, with a cut off of 1.5 SD below age mean. These subjects were better educated and performed significantly better on measures of general cognitive capacity.
Conclusions: The results illustrate the heterogeneity of MCI, with a significant degree of impairment in all five cognitive domains. When examined with a comprehensive neuropsychological battery, very few subjects had an isolated memory impairment.
The Interleukin 28B (IL28B) rs12979860 polymorphisms was recently reported to be associated with the human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) proviral load (PvL) and the development of the HTLV-1-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP).
In an attempt to examine this hypothesis, we assessed the association of the rs12979860 genotypes with HTLV-1 PvL levels and clinical status in 112 unrelated Brazilian subjects (81 HTLV-1 asymptomatic carriers, 24 individuals with HAM/TSP and 7 with Adult T cell Leukemia/Lymphoma (ATLL)).
All 112 samples were successfully genotyped and their PvLs compared. Neither the homozygote TT nor the heterozygote CT mutations nor the combination genotypes (TT/CT) were associated with a greater PvL. We also observed no significant difference in allele distribution between asymptomatic carriers and patients with HTLV-1 associated HAM/TSP.
Our study failed to support the previously reported positive association between the IL28B rs12979860 polymorphisms and an increased risk of developing HAM/TSP in the Brazilian population.
HTLV-1; ILB 28 polymorphisms; HAM/TSP; Proviral load
The antiviral activity of pegylated interferon-alpha-2a has not been studied in untreated HIV-1-infected subjects without chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.
Untreated HIV-1-infected volunteers without HCV received weekly pegylated interferon alfa-2a (180 μg) for twelve weeks. Changes in HIV-1 RNA (pVL), CD4+ T-cell counts, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamic measurements of 2’,5’ oligoadenylate synthetase (OAS) activity, and induction of interferon inducible genes (IFIG) were measured. Nonparametric statistical analysis was performed.
Eleven subjects completed 12 weeks of therapy. Median pVL decline and change in CD4 T-cell counts at week 12 were 0.61 log10 cp/mL [90% CI:0.20,1.18] and −44 (− 95, 85) cells/mm3, respectively. There was no correlation between pVL declines and concurrent pegylated interferon plasma concentrations. However, subjects with larger increases in OAS exhibited greater decreases in pVL at weeks 1 and 2 (estimated Spearman correlations -0.75 [-0.93,-0.28]) and -0.61 [-0.87,-0.09], respectively). Subjects with higher baseline IFIG levels had smaller week 12 declines in pVL (0.66[0.06,0.91]), while those with larger IFIG induction exhibited larger declines in pVL (-0.74 [-0.93,-0.21]).
Pegylated interferon alfa-2a was well tolerated and had significant anti-HIV-1 activity in HIV-1-monoinfected patients. The anti-HIV-1 effect correlated with OAS protein (weeks 1 and 2) and IFIG induction (week 12), but not with pegylated interferon concentrations.
To determine the extent to which preoperative performance on tests of executive function and memory was associated with delirium after coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery.
Prospective observational cohort study.
Two academic medical centers and one Department of Veterans Affairs medical center in Massachusetts.
Eighty subjects without preoperative delirium undergoing CABG or CABG-valve surgery completed baseline neuropsychological assessments with validated measures of memory and executive function.
Beginning on postoperative Day 2, a battery to diagnose delirium was administered daily. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was used to define two cognitive domain composites (memory and executive function). The loading pattern of neuropsychological measures onto the latent cognitive domains was determined a priori. Poisson regression was used to model the association between neuropsychological performance and cognitive domain composite scores and risk of postoperative delirium. The association was expressed as the difference between impaired (0.5 standard deviations (SDs) below mean) and nonimpaired (0.5 SDs above mean) performers.
Forty subjects (50%) developed delirium. Measures of memory function were not significantly related to delirium. Of the executive function measures, verbal fluency, category fluency, Hopkins Verbal Learning Test learning, and backward recounting of days and months were significantly related to delirium. Preoperative mental status was a strong predictor of postoperative delirium. After controlling for age, sex, education, medical comorbidity, mental status, and the other cognitive domain, CFA cognitive domain composites suggest that risk for delirium is specific for executive functioning impairment (relative risk (RR) = 2.77, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.12–6.87) but not for memory impairment (RR = 0.49, 95% CI = 0.19–1.25).
Worse preoperative performance in executive function was independently associated with greater risk of developing delirium after CABG.
aged; delirium; CABG surgery; executive function; cognitive impairment; factor analysis
Routes of transmission of hepatitis B virus (HBV)/HIV infections are similar and there is a significant rate of co-infection in patients. A study was recently carried out in NHS Fife, Scotland from February 2007 - February 2008 to estimate the prevalence of HBV/HIV co-infection, occult HBV infection and immunisation status against HBV in a cohort of patients with HIV attending the departments of infectious diseases and genitourinary medicine.
Case notes were reviewed retrospectively (n = 70). Details on patient demographics, risk category, nadir/current CD4 count, HIV viral load and vaccination history were analysed. HBV markers (HBsAg/anti-HBs/anti-HBc/HBV DNA) and alanine transaminase (ALT) levels were tested prospectively if these tests had not been carried out in the previous 12 months.
Results and Conclusion
Prevalence of HBV/HIV co-infection was 5.6% of which 2.8% of patients had occult infection and 22.9% had evidence of previous exposure. Although HBV is preventable by vaccination, only 24.2% of patients had been vaccinated against it. Improvements could therefore be made in the field of prevention with vaccination and monitoring the immune response in this cohort.
Prevalence; Immunization status; Hepatitis B Virus; HIV
Attention is a basic component of cognitition, and is modulated by cognitive load. We aimed to map the common network that supports attentional load across different tasks using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Twenty-two healthy volunteers performed two sets of tasks with graded levels of cognitive load: verbal working memory (WM) and visual attention (VA) tasks. For both tasks, increased cognitive load (WM-load and VA-load) activated a common network comprising parietal and occipital cortices, thalamus, and the cerebellum, indicating that these brain regions are involved in higher level of attention. The fMRI signals in the prefrontal cortices increased with WM-load but not with VA-load, suggesting that executive function is involved for the more demanding WM tasks but not for the more difficult VA tasks. Conversely, VA tasks activated more strongly an occipito-parietal network comprising the postcentral (PostCG) and the superior occipital (SOG) gyri, suggesting complex visual processing in this network.
fMRI; memory; attention; brain activation