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1.  Immunological Responses and Long-Term Treatment Interruption after Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 (HIV-1) Lipopeptide Immunization of HIV-1-Infected Patients: the LIPTHERA Study▿  
We studied the time course of immunological and virological markers after highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) interruption in chronically human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-infected patients immunized with an HIV lipopeptide preparation. In a prospective open pilot study, 24 HIV-1-infected HAART-treated patients with undetectable plasma viral loads (pVLs) and CD4+ T-cell counts above 350/mm3 were immunized at weeks 0, 3, and 6 with a candidate vaccine consisting of six HIV lipopeptides. At week 24, patients with pVLs of <1.7 log10 copies/ml were invited to stop taking HAART. Antiretroviral therapy was resumed if the pVL rose above 4.47 log10 copies/ml and/or if the CD4+ cell count fell below 250/mm3. Immunological and virologic parameters were studied before and after HAART interruption. The median baseline and nadir CD4+ cell counts were 482 (interquartile range [IQR], 195 to 826) and 313 (IQR, 1 to 481)/mm3, respectively. New specific CD8+ cell responses to HIV-1 epitopes were detected after immunization in 13 (57%) of 23 assessable patients. Twenty-one patients were evaluated 96 weeks after HAART interruption. The median time to pVL rebound was 4 weeks (IQR, 2 to 6), and the median peak pVL was 4.26 (IQR, 3 to 5) log10 copies/ml. Thirteen of these 21 patients resumed HAART a median of 60 weeks after immunization (IQR, 9.2 to 68.4 weeks), when the median pVL was 4.8 (IQR, 2.9 to 5.7) log10 copies/ml and the median CD4+ cell count was 551 (IQR, 156 to 778)/mm3. Eight patients were still off therapy at 96 weeks, with a median pVL of 4 (IQR, 1.7 to 4.6) log10 copies/ml and a median CD4+ cell count of 412 (IQR, 299 to 832)/mm3. No clinical disease progression had occurred. Despite the lack of a control arm, these findings warrant a randomized study of therapeutic vaccination with HIV lipopeptides followed by long-term HAART interruption in AIDS-free chronically infected patients.
doi:10.1128/CVI.00165-07
PMCID: PMC2268255  PMID: 18184824
2.  Persistent Genital Tract HIV-1 RNA Shedding After Change in Treatment Regimens in Antiretroviral-Experienced Women with Detectable Plasma Viral Load 
Journal of Women's Health  2013;22(4):330-338.
Abstract
Objective
To longitudinally assess the association between plasma viral load (PVL) and genital tract human immunodeficiency virus (GT HIV) RNA among HIV-1 infected women changing highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) because of detectable PVL on current treatment.
Methods
Women were eligible for the study if they had detectable PVL (defined as two consecutive samples with PVL>1000 copies/mL) and intended to change their current HAART regimen at the time of enrollment. Paired plasma and GT HIV-1 RNA were measured prospectively over 3 years. Longitudinal analyses examined rates of GT HIV-1 RNA shedding and the association with PVL.
Results
Sixteen women were followed for a median of 11 visits contributing a total of 205 study visits. At study enrollment, all had detectable PVL and 69% had detectable GT HIV-1 RNA. Half of the women changed to a new HAART regimen with ≥3 active antiretroviral drugs. The probability of having detectable PVL ≥30 days after changing HAART was 0.56 (95% CI: 0.37 to 0.74). Fourteen women (88%) had detectable PVL on a follow-up visit ≥30 or 60 days after changing HAART; and 12 women (75%) had detectable GT HIV-1 RNA on a follow-up visit ≥30 or 60 days after changing HAART. When PVL was undetectable, GT shedding occurred at 11% of visits, and when PVL was detectable, GT shedding occurred at 47% of visits.
Conclusions
Some treatment-experienced HIV-infected women continue to have detectable virus in both the plasma and GT following a change in HAART, highlighting the difficulty of viral suppression in this patient population.
doi:10.1089/jwh.2012.3849
PMCID: PMC3627435  PMID: 23531097
3.  Magnitude and Complexity of Rectal Mucosa HIV-1-Specific CD8+ T-Cell Responses during Chronic Infection Reflect Clinical Status 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(10):e3577.
Background
The intestinal mucosa displays robust virus replication and pronounced CD4+ T-cell loss during acute human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection. The ability of HIV-specific CD8+ T-cells to modulate disease course has prompted intensive study, yet the significance of virus-specific CD8+ T-cells in mucosal sites remains unclear.
Methods and Findings
We evaluated five distinct effector functions of HIVgag-specific CD8+ T-cells in rectal mucosa and blood, individually and in combination, in relationship to clinical status and antiretroviral therapy (ART). In subjects not on ART, the percentage of rectal Gag-specific CD8+ T-cells capable of 3, 4 or 5 simultaneous effector functions was significantly related to blood CD4 count and inversely related to plasma viral load (PVL) (p<0.05). Polyfunctional rectal CD8+ T-cells expressed higher levels of MIP-1β and CD107a on a per cell basis than mono- or bifunctional cells. The production of TNFα, IFN-γ, and CD107a by Gag-specific rectal CD8+ T-cells each correlated inversely (p<0.05) with PVL, and MIP-1β expression revealed a similar trend. CD107a and IFN-γ production were positively related to blood CD4 count (p<0.05), with MIP-1β showing a similar trend. IL-2 production by rectal CD8+ T-cells was highly variable and generally low, and showed no relationship to viral load or blood CD4 count.
Conclusions
The polyfunctionality of rectal Gag-specific CD8+ T-cells appears to be related to blood CD4 count and inversely related to PVL. The extent to which these associations reflect causality remains to be determined; nevertheless, our data suggest a potentially important role for mucosal T-cells in limiting virus replication during chronic infection.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0003577
PMCID: PMC2570490  PMID: 18974782
4.  Emergence of Polyfunctional CD8+ T Cells after Prolonged Suppression of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Replication by Antiretroviral Therapy▿  
Journal of Virology  2008;82(7):3391-3404.
Progressive human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection is often associated with high plasma virus load (pVL) and impaired CD8+ T-cell function; in contrast, CD8+ T cells remain polyfunctional in long-term nonprogressors. However, it is still unclear whether CD8+ T-cell dysfunction is the cause or the consequence of high pVLs. Here, we conducted a longitudinal functional and phenotypic analysis of virus-specific CD8+ T cells in a cohort of patients with chronic HIV-1 infection. During the initiation and maintenance of successful antiretroviral therapy (ART), we assessed whether the level of pVL was associated with the degree of CD8+ T-cell dysfunction. Under viremic conditions, HIV-specific CD8+ T cells were dysfunctional with respect to cytokine secretion (gamma interferon, interleukin-2 [IL-2], and tumor necrosis factor alpha), and their phenotype suggested limited potential for proliferation. During ART, cytokine secretion by HIV-specific CD8+ T cells was gradually restored, IL-7Rα and CD28 expression increased dramatically, and PD-1 levels declined. Thus, prolonged ART-induced reduction of viral replication and, hence, presumably antigen exposure in vivo, allows a significant functional restoration of CD8+ T cells with the appearance of polyfunctional cells. These findings indicate that the level of pVL as a surrogate for antigen load has a dominant influence on the phenotypic and functional profile of virus-specific CD8+ T cells.
doi:10.1128/JVI.02383-07
PMCID: PMC2268491  PMID: 18199637
5.  Memory Responses in Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1-Infected Individuals with Long-Term Viral Load Suppression Are Independent of CD4 Cell Nadir 
The persistence of memory responses in suppressive highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has been an area of controversy. By using a previously described proliferation assay that augments specific responses, peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) from 61 human immunodeficiency virus type 1-seropositive individuals with CD4 counts of >300/mm3 and suppressed viral burdens were studied for response to p24 antigen as a function of time of viral load suppression on HAART. In the majority of cases, proliferative responses could be measured in PBL from patients with plasma viral load suppression. No differences could be found in proliferative responses from PBL between individuals with a low and those with a high CD4 cell nadir. PBL that did not respond to either Casta antigen or p24 were found to have a higher percentage of naïve cells than did PBL that responded well to antigen. These data support the contention that, after long-term viral load suppression, PBL from infected individuals have memory cell populations that can respond to antigenic stimulation under inducible conditions.
doi:10.1128/CDLI.12.1.76-80.2005
PMCID: PMC540194  PMID: 15642988
6.  Development of Methods for Coordinate Measurement of Total Cell-Associated and Integrated Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 (HIV-1) DNA Forms in Routine Clinical Samples: Levels Are Not Associated with Clinical Parameters, but Low Levels of Integrated HIV-1 DNA May Be Prognostic for Continued Successful Therapy▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2007;45(4):1288-1297.
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.
doi:10.1128/JCM.01926-06
PMCID: PMC1865852  PMID: 17314225
7.  Transmitted Drug Resistance in the CFAR Network of Integrated Clinical Systems Cohort: Prevalence and Effects on Pre-Therapy CD4 and Viral Load 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(6):e21189.
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.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0021189
PMCID: PMC3118815  PMID: 21701595
8.  Presence of p24-Antigen Associated to Erythrocyte in HIV-Positive Individuals Even in Patients with Undetectable Plasma Viral Load 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(1):e14544.
Background
HIV adherence to erythrocytes has been demonstrated in vitro, and it has been suggested that erythrocytes may be carriers of the virus. However, the association between HIV particles or viral proteins and erythrocytes in HIV-infected individuals is still to be elucidated.
Methodology/Principal Findings
HIV-positive participants (n = 112) were classified into two groups according to values of three plasma viral loads (pVL) determined during the 12-month period prior to the study. The first group included 71 individuals with detectable pVL, whereas the second group included 41 individuals with undetectable pVL. Plasma viral load, erythrocyte-associated p24-antigen and p24-antigen in plasma were determined at the moment of the study. A total of 51 out of the 71 patients with detectable pVL showed erythrocyte-associated p24-antigen whereas 13 showed p24-antigen in plasma. Twenty-two out of the 51 patients with erythrocyte-associated p24-antigen showed pVL<10,000 copies/ml and undetectable p24-antigen in plasma. The data indicates that the amount of erythrocyte-associated p24-antigen was not related to p24-antigen in plasma or pVL levels in this group. Among the 41 patients with prior undetectable pVL, eight presented detectable pVL and erythrocyte-associated p24-antigen at the moment of the study. The other 33 showed undetectable pVL and five of these presented erythrocyte-associated p24-antigen. A positive relationship was found between the presence of erythrocyte-associated p24-antigen and the detectable pVL at the moment of the study (p<0.00001). Even more, in another series of assays, a detectable viral load associated to erythrocytes was determined and it was always accompanied by erythrocyte-associated p24-antigen detection.
Conclusions/Significance
This study demonstrates the presence of erythrocyte-associated p24-antigen in HIV-infected individuals. Since erythrocyte-associated p24-antigen is not always related to pVL or p24-antigen in plasma, erythrocyte-associated p24-antigen showed viral expression not represented in plasma. Therefore, the determination of erythrocyte-associated p24-antigen may contribute to better understand the kinetics and/or evolution of HIV infection.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0014544
PMCID: PMC3022626  PMID: 21267446
9.  HIV-DNA in the Genital Tract of Women on Long-Term Effective Therapy Is Associated to Residual Viremia and Previous AIDS-Defining Illnesses 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e69686.
Objectives
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0069686
PMCID: PMC3749193  PMID: 23990886
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.
doi:10.4269/ajtmh.2010.09-0477
PMCID: PMC2844563  PMID: 20348498
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e57336.
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.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0057336
PMCID: PMC3577748  PMID: 23437372
Intervirology  2009;52(3):115-122.
Objective
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1159/000219384
PMCID: PMC2790750  PMID: 19468234
HTLV-1 infection; Clonal expansion, infected cells; Transmission, vertical
PLoS ONE  2011;6(8):e22864.
Despite epidemiological data linking necrotizing skin infections with the production of Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL), the contribution of this toxin to the virulence of S. aureus has been highly discussed as a result of inconclusive results of in vivo studies. However, the majority of these results originate from experiments using mice, an animal species which neutrophils - the major target cells for PVL - are highly insensitive to the action of this leukocidin. In contrast, the rabbit neutrophils have been shown to be as sensitive to PVL action as human cells, making the rabbit a better experimental animal to explore the PVL role. In this study we examined whether PVL contributes to S. aureus pathogenicity by means of a rabbit skin infection model. The rabbits were injected intradermally with 108 cfu of either a PVL positive community-associated methicillin-resistant S. aureus isolate, its isogenic PVL knockout or a PVL complemented knockout strain, and the development of skin lesions was observed. While all strains induced skin infection, the wild type strain produced larger lesions and a higher degree of skin necrosis compared to the PVL knockout strain in the first week after the infection. The PVL expression in the rabbits was indirectly confirmed by a raise in the serum titer of anti-LukS-PV antibodies observed only in the rabbits infected with PVL positive strains. These results indicate that the rabbit model is more suitable for studying the role of PVL in staphylococcal diseases than other animal models. Further, they support the epidemiological link between PVL producing S. aureus strains and necrotizing skin infections.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0022864
PMCID: PMC3151264  PMID: 21850240
BMC Neurology  2010;10:60.
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/1471-2377-10-60
PMCID: PMC2912842  PMID: 20626870
BMC Infectious Diseases  2012;12:374.
Background
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).
Methods
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)).
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-12-374
PMCID: PMC3547796  PMID: 23259930
HTLV-1; ILB 28 polymorphisms; HAM/TSP; Proviral load
PLoS ONE  2009;4(7):e6387.
Community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) threatens public health worldwide, and epidemiologic data suggest that the Panton-Valentine Leukocidin (PVL) expressed by most CA-MRSA strains could contribute to severe human infections, particularly in young and immunocompetent hosts. PVL is proposed to induce cytolysis or apoptosis of phagocytes. However, recent comparisons of isogenic CA-MRSA strains with or without PVL have revealed no differences in human PMN cytolytic activity. Furthermore, many of the mouse studies performed to date have failed to demonstrate a virulence role for PVL, thereby provoking the question: does PVL have a mechanistic role in human infection? In this report, we evaluated the contribution of PVL to severe skin and soft tissue infection. We generated PVL mutants in CA-MRSA strains isolated from patients with necrotizing fasciitis and used these tools to evaluate the pathogenic role of PVL in vivo. In a model of necrotizing soft tissue infection, we found PVL caused significant damage of muscle but not the skin. Muscle injury was linked to induction of pro-inflammatory chemokines KC, MIP-2, and RANTES, and recruitment of neutrophils. Tissue damage was most prominent in young mice and in those strains of mice that more effectively cleared S. aureus, and was not significant in older mice and mouse strains that had a more limited immune response to the pathogen. PVL mediated injury could be blocked by pretreatment with anti-PVL antibodies. Our data provide new insights into CA-MRSA pathogenesis, epidemiology and therapeutics. PVL could contribute to the increased incidence of myositis in CA-MRSA infection, and the toxin could mediate tissue injury by mechanisms other than direct killing of phagocytes.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0006387
PMCID: PMC2711303  PMID: 19633710
Analysis of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 pol gene sequences from 107 patients receiving second-line antiretroviral therapy (ART) revealed that a high prevalence of resistance mutations among second-line ART-experienced patients limits the ART-sequencing options, suggesting darunavir as the third-line drug in India.
Background. A cross-sectional study among individuals receiving second-line antiretroviral treatment was conducted to report on the level of detectable viremia and the types of drug resistance mutations among those with detectable human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) type 1 plasma viral loads (PVLs).
Methods. PVLs were measured using Abbott m2000rt real-time polymerase chain reaction, and genotyping was performed with the ViroSeq genotyping system, version 2.0, and ViroSeq analysis software, version 2.8.
Results. Of 107 patient plasma specimens consecutively analyzed, 30 (28%) had undetectable PVLs (<150 copies/mL), and 77 (72%) were viremic with a median PVL of 5450 copies/mL (interquartile range, 169–1 997 967). Sequencing was done for 107 samples with PVLs >2000 copies/mL: 33 patients (73%) had 1 of the protease (PR) inhibitor mutations; 41 (91%) had nucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) mutations; 33 (73%) had non-NRTI (NNRTI) mutations; and 30 (66.7%) had both NRTI and NNRTI mutations. Triple-class resistance to NRTIs, NNRTIs, and PR inhibitors was observed in 24 (53%) patients. Based on the mutational profiles observed, all 45 sequences were susceptible to darunavir and tipranavir, whereas 47% showed resistance to lopinavir, 58% showed resistance to atazanavir, and >60% showed resistance to saquinavir, indinavir, nelfinavir, and fosamprenavir.
Conclusions. The results of the study showed that the majority of patients receiving second-line antiretroviral therapy started to accumulate PR resistance mutations, and the mutation profiles suggest that darunavir might be the drug of choice for third-line regimens in India.
doi:10.1093/cid/cir967
PMCID: PMC3571716  PMID: 22323567
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1097/QAI.0b013e3182219113
PMCID: PMC3786783  PMID: 21546844
CD4 count; highly active antiretroviral therapy; outcomes; predictors; treatment response
PLoS Pathogens  2010;6(1):e1000715.
The role of the pore-forming Staphylococcus aureus toxin Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL) in severe necrotizing diseases is debated due to conflicting data from epidemiological studies of community-associated methicillin-resistant S. aureus (CA-MRSA) infections and various murine disease-models. In this study, we used neutrophils isolated from different species to evaluate the cytotoxic effect of PVL in comparison to other staphylococcal cytolytic components. Furthermore, to study the impact of PVL we expressed it heterologously in a non-virulent staphylococcal species and examined pvl-positive and pvl-negative clinical isolates as well as the strain USA300 and its pvl-negative mutant. We demonstrate that PVL induces rapid activation and cell death in human and rabbit neutrophils, but not in murine or simian cells. By contrast, the phenol-soluble modulins (PSMs), a newly identified group of cytolytic staphylococcal components, lack species-specificity. In general, after phagocytosis of bacteria different pvl-positive and pvl-negative staphylococcal strains, expressing a variety of other virulence factors (such as surface proteins), induced cell death in neutrophils, which is most likely associated with the physiological clearing function of these cells. However, the release of PVL by staphylococcal strains caused rapid and premature cell death, which is different from the physiological (and programmed) cell death of neutrophils following phagocytosis and degradation of virulent bacteria. Taken together, our results question the value of infection-models in mice and non-human primates to elucidate the impact of PVL. Our data clearly demonstrate that PVL acts differentially on neutrophils of various species and suggests that PVL has an important cytotoxic role in human neutrophils, which has major implications for the pathogenesis of CA-MRSA infections.
Author Summary
Staphylococcus aureus can cause serious diseases, including necrotizing pneumonia, which often affects young immunocompetent patients and has a high lethality rate. Several clinical studies demonstrated a clear association between this form of pneumonia and S. aureus strains carrying the gene for the pore-forming toxin Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL). However, laboratory work, which mainly used murine disease models, has created very contrasting results and often fails to show a pathogenic role for PVL. In this study, we demonstrate that the expression of PVL by staphylococcal strains confers strong and rapid cytotoxic activity against neutrophils. However, this action was basically restricted to human cells and could not be reproduced in murine or Java monkeys’ cells. These results indicate that infection-models in mice and in non-human primates fail to replicate the pathogenic activity of PVL seen in human cells. Our data with human neutrophils clearly show that PVL has a major cytotoxic effect, as the release of PVL by staphylococcal strains caused rapid and premature cell death, which is different from the physiological (and programmed) cell death of neutrophils following phagocytosis and degradation of virulent bacteria. These results have important implications especially for infections with CA-MRSA strains, which often carry the gene for PVL and have spread widely in the community.
doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1000715
PMCID: PMC2798753  PMID: 20072612
OBJECTIVES
To examine the relationship between erythrocyte mean corpuscular volume (MCV) and cognitive performance over time.
DESIGN
Longitudinal.
SETTING
Sample from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA)
PARTICIPANTS
The sample consisted of 827 participants from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA; M age = 67; range = 50 – 96).
MEASUREMENTS
MCV and several other blood indices were measured including hemoglobin, iron, ferritin, vitamin B12, folate, white blood cell count, albumin and erythrocyte sedimentation rate. Cognitive performance was examined using neuropsychological measures of visual memory, verbal memory, language, attention, executive function and global mental status.
RESULTS
High MCV levels were significantly associated with lower global mental status even after adjusting for potential confounders. High MCV levels were also significantly associated with accelerated rates of decline on tasks of global mental status, long delay memory, and attention even after adjusting for potential confounders.
CONCLUSION
Our findings confirm a previous observation that larger erythrocytes in older adults are associated with poorer cognitive function. The relationship between MCV and cognition does not appear to be explained by anemia and inflammation. Further research is needed to clarify the mechanisms behind this association.
doi:10.1111/jgs.12066
PMCID: PMC3555566  PMID: 23301873
Future virology  2012;7(8):819-832.
Aims
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
SUSHI measures changes in a wide range of gag-pol+ reservoirs in response to antiretroviral therapy.
doi:10.2217/fvl.12.69
PMCID: PMC3486786  PMID: 23125871
activated memory T cell; antiretroviral; cellular reservoirs; HIV-1; macrophage; memory T cell; monocyte; naive T cell; total CD4+; transcriptionally active
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.
doi:10.1080/13825585.2010.517826
PMCID: PMC3058923  PMID: 21128132
Cognitive Fatigue; Executive Control; Aging; Attention Networks
We analyse data on patient adherence to prescribed regimens and surrogate markers of clinical outcome for 168 human immunodeficiency virus infected patients treated with antiretroviral therapy. Data on patient adherence consisted of dose-timing measurements collected for an average of 12 months per patient via electronic monitoring of bottle opening events. We first discuss how such data can be presented to highlight suboptimal adherence patterns and between-patient differences, before introducing two novel methods by which such data can be statistically modelled. Correlations between adherence and subsequent measures of viral load and CD4+T-cell counts are then evaluated. We show that summary measures of short-term adherence, which incorporate pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic data on the monitored regimen, predict suboptimal trends in viral load and CD4+T-cell counts better than measures based on adherence data alone.
doi:10.1098/rsif.2005.0037
PMCID: PMC1578278  PMID: 16849193
HIV; antiretroviral therapy; adherence; compliance; protease inhibitor; mathematical model
Journal of Virology  1999;73(8):6715-6720.
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.
PMCID: PMC112756  PMID: 10400769
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e69837.
Background
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.
Methodology/Principal Findings
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.
Conclusions/Significance
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.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0069837
PMCID: PMC3724899  PMID: 23922816

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