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26.  Rituximab in Relapsing and Progressive Forms of Multiple Sclerosis: A Systematic Review 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e66308.
Rituximab is an anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody approved for non Hodgkin lymphoma and rheumatoid arthritis. It is being considered for the treatment of MS.
To evaluate the efficacy and safety of rituximab for MS treatment.
Data collection
Studies were selected if they were clinical trials, irrespective of the dosage or combination therapies.
Main results
Four studies with a total of 599 patients were included. One assessed the efficacy of rituximab for primary progressive (PP) MS while the other three focused on relapsing-remitting (RR) MS. In the PPMS study, rituximab delayed time to confirmed disease progression (CDP) in pre-planned sub-group analyses. The increase in T2 lesion volume was lower in the rituximab group at week 96 compared with placebo. For the RRMS studies, an open-label phase I study found that rituximab reduced the annualized relapse rate to 0.25 from pre-therapy baseline to week 24, while in the randomized placebo-controlled phase II trial, annualized relapse rates were 0.37 in the rituximab group and 0.84 in the placebo group (p = 0.04) at week 24. Rituximab dramatically reduced the number of gadolinium-enhancing lesions on brain MRI scans for both RRMS studies. Off-label rituximab as an add-on therapy in patients with breakthrough disease on first-line agents was associated with an 88% reduction when comparing the mean number of gadolinium-enhancing lesions prior to and after the treatment. Although frequent adverse events classified as mild or moderate occurred in up to 77% of the patients, there were no grade 4 infusion-related adverse events.
Author’s conclusion
Despite the frequent mild/moderate adverse events related to the drug, rituximab appears overall safe for up to 2 years of therapy and has a substantial impact on the inflammatory disease activity (clinical and/or radiological) of RRMS. The effect of rituximab on disease progression in PPMS appears to be marginal.
PMCID: PMC3699597  PMID: 23843952
27.  Hematopoietic Precursor Cells Isolated From Patients on Long-term Suppressive HIV Therapy Did Not Contain HIV-1 DNA 
Background. We address the key emerging question of whether Lin−/CD34+ hematopoietic precursor cells (HPCs) represent an important latent reservoir of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) during long-term suppressive therapy.
Methods. To estimate the frequency of HIV-1 infection in bone marrow, we sorted Lin−/CD34+ HPCs and 3 other cell types (Lin−/CD34−, Lin−/CD4+, and Lin+/CD4+) from 8 patients who had undetectable viral loads for 3–12 years. Using a single-proviral sequencing method, we extracted, amplified, and sequenced multiple single HIV-1 DNA molecules from these cells and memory CD4+ T cells from contemporaneous peripheral blood samples.
Results. We analyzed 100 000–870 000 bone marrow Lin−/CD34+ HPCs from the 8 patients and found no HIV-1 DNA. We did isolate HIV-1 DNA from their bone marrow Lin+/CD4+ cells that was genetically similar to HIV-1 DNA from lymphoid cells located in the peripheral blood, indicating an exchange of infected cells between these compartments.
Conclusions. The absence of infected HPCs provides strong evidence that the HIV-1 infection frequency of Lin−/CD34+ HPCs from bone marrow, if it occurred, was <.003% (highest upper 95% confidence interval) in all 8 patients. These results strongly suggest that Lin−/CD34+ HPCs in bone marrow are not a source of persistent HIV-1 in patients on long-term suppressive therapy.
PMCID: PMC3415927  PMID: 22536001
28.  Racial/Ethnic Differences in Spontaneous HCV Clearance in HIV Infected and Uninfected Women 
Digestive diseases and sciences  2012;58(5):1341-1348.
Among individuals without human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), African Americans have lower spontaneous clearance of hepatitis C virus (HCV) than Caucasians, and women have higher clearance than men. Few studies report racial/ethnic differences in acute HCV in HIV infected, or Hispanic women. We examined racial/ethnic differences in spontaneous HCV clearance in a population of HCV mono- and co-infected women.
We conducted a cross sectional study of HCV seropositive women (897 HIV infected and 168 HIV uninfected) followed in the US multicenter, NIH-funded Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS), to determine the association of race/ethnicity with spontaneous HCV clearance, as defined by undetectable HCV RNA at study entry.
Among HIV and HCV seropositive women, 18.7 % were HCV RNA negative, 60.9 % were African American, 19.3 % Hispanic and 17.7 % Caucasian. HIV infected African American women were less likely to spontaneously clear HCV than Hispanic (OR 0.59, 95 % CI 0.38–0.93, p = 0.022) or Caucasian women (OR 0.57, 95 % CI 0.36–0.93, p = 0.023). Among HIV uninfected women, African Americans had less HCV clearance than Hispanics (OR 0.18, 95 % CI 0.07–0.48, p = 0.001) or Caucasians (OR 0.26, 95 % CI 0.09–0.79, p = 0.017). There were no significant differences in HCV clearance between Hispanics and Caucasians, among either HIV infected (OR 0.97, 95 % CI 0.57–1.66, p = 0.91) or uninfected (OR 1.45, 95 % CI 0.56–3.8, p = 0.45) women.
African Americans were less likely to spontaneously clear HCV than Hispanics or Caucasians, regardless of HIV status. No significant differences in spontaneous HCV clearance were observed between Caucasian and Hispanic women. Future studies incorporating IL28B genotype may further explain these observed racial/ethnic differences in spontaneous HCV clearance.
PMCID: PMC3663918  PMID: 23179159
African American; Hispanic; Acute hepatitis C; Female
29.  Impact of Insulin Resistance on HCV Treatment Response and Impact of HCV Treatment on Insulin Sensitivity Using Direct Measurements of Insulin Action 
Diabetes Care  2012;35(5):1090-1094.
Insulin resistance, as measured by surrogate markers, is associated with lower response to hepatitis C virus (HCV) therapy and may improve with HCV eradication. We prospectively evaluated the impact of directly measured insulin resistance and abnormal glucose metabolism on achieving sustained virologic response (SVR) with HCV therapy and assessed whether SVR results in improved insulin sensitivity and fasting glucose.
A total of 50 noncirrhotic, nondiabetic, HCV-infected patients (27 untreated, 23 treated with pegylated interferon/ribavirin, nonrandomized) underwent clinical and histologic evaluation and 75-g oral glucose tolerance test. Insulin sensitivity was assessed directly with insulin suppression test by measuring steady-state plasma glucose (SSPG) concentration during a 240-min infusion of octreotide, glucose, and insulin. Of the subjects, 43 had at least one follow-up evaluation.
Patient characteristics were median age 48, 57% male, and 52% white. SVR was achieved in 61% (14 of 23) of treated subjects. SVR was independently associated with HCV genotypes 2 and 3 (odds ratio 8.8 [95% CI 1.2–61.7]) but was not strongly associated with insulin sensitivity. When controlling for elapsed time between measurements, being on interferon, and BMI, SSPG decreased by 36 mg/dL (−88 to 16) in those with SVR and decreased by 28 mg/dL (−93 to 38) in those without SVR, compared with the untreated group. BMI (coefficient 9.1 per 5 units; 95% CI 5.3–12.9) and interferon use (coefficient 56; 95% CI 6.8–105) were associated with SSPG.
Insulin resistance does not appear to be strongly associated with SVR. HCV therapy may improve insulin resistance regardless of virologic response; however, BMI and interferon use were clearly associated with insulin resistance.
PMCID: PMC3329815  PMID: 22399695
30.  Insulin Resistance and Cognition Among HIV-Infected and HIV-Uninfected Adult Women: The Women's Interagency HIV Study 
Cognitive impairment remains prevalent in the era of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) and may be partially due to comorbidities. We postulated that insulin resistance (IR) is negatively associated with cognitive performance. We completed a cross-sectional analysis among 1547 (1201 HIV+) women enrolled in the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS). We evaluated the association of IR with cognitive measures among all WIHS women with concurrent fasting bloods and cognitive testing [Trails A, Trails B, and Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT)] using multiple linear regression models. A smaller subgroup also completed the Stroop test (n=1036). IR was estimated using the Homeostasis Model Assessment (HOMA). Higher HOMA was associated with poorer performance on the SDMT, Stroop Color-Naming (SCN) trial, and Stroop interference trial, but remained statistically significant only for the SCN in models adjusting for important factors [β=3.78 s (95% CI: 0.48–7.08), p=0.025, for highest vs. lowest quartile of HOMA]. HIV status did not appear to substantially impact the relationship of HOMA with SCN. There was a small but statistically significant association of HOMA and reduced neuropsychological performance on the SCN test in this cohort of women.
PMCID: PMC3332367  PMID: 21878059
31.  Association of Increased Upper Trunk and Decreased Leg Fat With 2-h Glucose in Control and HIV-Infected Persons 
Diabetes Care  2011;34(11):2448-2453.
Changes in body fat distribution and abnormal glucose metabolism are common in HIV-infected patients. We hypothesized that HIV-infected participants would have a higher prevalence of impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) compared with control subjects.
A total of 491 HIV-infected and 187 control participants from the second examination of the Study of Fat Redistribution and Metabolic Change in HIV Infection (FRAM) underwent glucose tolerance testing (GTT). Multivariable regression was used to identify factors associated with GTT parameters.
The prevalence of impaired fasting glucose (IFG) (>110 mg/dL) was similar in HIV-infected and control participants (21 vs. 25%, P = 0.23). In those without IFG, the prevalence of IGT was slightly higher in HIV-infected participants compared with control subjects (13.1 vs. 8.2%, P = 0.14) and in HIV+ participants with lipoatrophy versus without (18.1 vs. 11.5%, P = 0.084). Diabetes detected by GTT was rare (HIV subjects 1.3% and control subjects 0%, P = 0.65). Mean 2-h glucose levels were 7.6 mg/dL higher in the HIV-infected participants (P = 0.012). Increased upper trunk subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) and decreased leg SAT were associated with 2-h glucose and IGT in both HIV-infected and control participants. Adjusting for adipose tissue reduced the estimated effects of HIV. Exercise, alcohol use, and current tenofovir use were associated with lower 2-h glucose levels in HIV-infected participants.
In HIV infection, increased upper trunk SAT and decreased leg SAT are associated with higher 2-h glucose. These body fat characteristics may identify HIV-infected patients with normal fasting glucose but nonetheless at increased risk for diabetes.
PMCID: PMC3198295  PMID: 21926283
32.  Changes in stress, eating, and metabolic factors are related to changes in telomerase activity in a randomized mindfulness intervention pilot study 
Psychoneuroendocrinology  2011;37(7):917-928.
Psychological distress and metabolic dysregulation are associated with markers of accelerated cellular aging, including reduced telomerase activity and shortened telomere length. We examined whether participation in a mindfulness-based intervention, and, secondarily, improvements in psychological distress, eating behavior, and metabolic factors are associated with increases in telomerase activity in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs).
We enrolled 47 overweight/obese women in a randomized waitlist-controlled pilot trial (n = 47) of a mindfulness-based intervention for stress eating and examined changes in telomerase activity from pre- to post-intervention. In secondary analyses, changes in telomerase activity across the sample were examined in relation to pre- to post-intervention changes in psychological distress, eating behavior, and metabolic factors (weight, serum cortisol, fasting glucose and insulin, and insulin resistance).
Both groups increased in mean telomerase activity over 4 months in intent-to-treat and treatment efficacy analyses (p < 0.001). Nonsignificant trends showed that greater attendance was associated with increases in telomerase, and telomerase increases were 18% higher among ‘as treated’ participants compared to controls. Across groups, changes in chronic stress, anxiety, dietary restraint, dietary fat intake, cortisol, and glucose were negatively correlated with changes in telomerase activity. In exploratory analyses, decreases in dietary fat intake partially mediated the association between dietary restraint and telomerase activity with marginal significance.
While there was no clear effect of the intervention on telomerase activity, there was a striking pattern of correlations between improvements in psychological distress, eating behavior, and metabolic health and increases in telomerase activity. These findings suggest that telomerase activity may be in part regulated by levels of both psychological and metabolic stress.
PMCID: PMC3384690  PMID: 22169588
Stress; Anxiety; Mindfulness; Dietary restraint; Telomerase; Cell aging; Cortisol
33.  Atazanavir Concentration in Hair Is the Strongest Predictor of Outcomes on Antiretroviral Therapy 
In a longitudinal study of outcomes on atazanavir-based therapy in a large cohort of HIV-infected women, hair levels of atazanavir were the strongest independent predictor of virologic suppression. Hair antiretroviral concentrations may serve as a useful tool in HIV care.
Background. Adequate exposure to antiretrovirals is important to maintain durable responses, but methods to assess exposure (eg, querying adherence and single plasma drug level measurements) are limited. Hair concentrations of antiretrovirals can integrate adherence and pharmacokinetics into a single assay.
Methods. Small hair samples were collected from participants in the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS), a large cohort of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected (and at-risk noninfected) women. From 2003 through 2008, we analyzed atazanavir hair concentrations longitudinally for women reporting receipt of atazanavir-based therapy. Multivariate random effects logistic regression models for repeated measures were used to estimate the association of hair drug levels with the primary outcome of virologic suppression (HIV RNA level, <80 copies/mL).
Results. 424 WIHS participants (51% African-American, 31% Hispanic) contributed 1443 person-visits to the analysis. After adjusting for age, race, treatment experience, pretreatment viral load, CD4 count and AIDS status, and self-reported adherence, hair levels were the strongest predictor of suppression. Categorized hair antiretroviral levels revealed a monotonic relationship to suppression; women with atazanavir levels in the highest quintile had odds ratios (ORs) of 59.8 (95% confidence ratio, 29.0–123.2) for virologic suppression. Hair atazanavir concentrations were even more strongly associated with resuppression of viral loads in subgroups in which there had been previous lapses in adherence (OR, 210.2 [95% CI, 46.0–961.1]), low hair levels (OR, 132.8 [95% CI, 26.5–666.0]), or detectable viremia (OR, 400.7 [95% CI, 52.3–3069.7]).
Conclusions. Antiretroviral hair levels surpassed any other predictor of virologic outcomes to HIV treatment in a large cohort. Low antiretroviral exposure in hair may trigger interventions prior to failure or herald virologic failure in settings where measurement of viral loads is unavailable. Monitoring hair antiretroviral concentrations may be useful for prolonging regimen durability.
PMCID: PMC3079399  PMID: 21507924
34.  Differential Persistence of Transmitted HIV-1 Drug Resistance Mutation Classes 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2011;203(8):1174-1181.
Background. Transmitted human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) drug resistance (TDR) mutations can become replaced over time by emerging wild-type viral variants with improved fitness. The impact of class-specific mutations on this rate of mutation replacement is uncertain.
Methods. We studied participants with acute and/or early HIV infection and TDR in 2 cohorts (San Francisco, California, and São Paulo, Brazil). We followed baseline mutations longitudinally and compared replacement rates between mutation classes with use of a parametric proportional hazards model.
Results. Among 75 individuals with 195 TDR mutations, M184V/I became undetectable markedly faster than did nonnucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) mutations (hazard ratio, 77.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 14.7–408.2; P < .0001), while protease inhibitor and NNRTI replacement rates were similar. Higher plasma HIV-1 RNA level predicted faster mutation replacement, but this was not statistically significant (hazard ratio, 1.71 log10 copies/mL; 95% CI, .90–3.25 log10 copies/mL; P = .11). We found substantial person-to-person variability in mutation replacement rates not accounted for by viral load or mutation class (P < .0001).
Conclusions. The rapid replacement of M184V/I mutations is consistent with known fitness costs. The long-term persistence of NNRTI and protease inhibitor mutations suggests a risk for person-to-person propagation. Host and/or viral factors not accounted for by viral load or mutation class are likely influencing mutation replacement and warrant further study.
PMCID: PMC3107558  PMID: 21451005
36.  Fetal Outcomes in Pregnancies Complicated by Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy in a Northern California Cohort 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e28343.
Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP) has important fetal implications. There is increased risk for poor fetal outcomes, including preterm delivery, meconium staining of amniotic fluid, respiratory distress, fetal distress and demise.
One hundred and one women diagnosed with ICP between January 2005 and March 2009 at San Francisco General Hospital were included in this study. Single predictor logistic regression models were used to assess the associations of maternal clinical and biochemical predictors with fetal complications. Clinical predictors analyzed included age, race/ethnicity, gravidity, parity, history of liver or biliary disease, history of ICP in previous pregnancies, and induction. Biochemical predictors analyzed included serum aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, alkaline phosphatase, total bilirubin, direct bilirubin, albumin, total protein, and total bile acids (TBA).
The prevalence of ICP was 1.9%. Most were Latina (90%). Labor was induced in the majority (87%) and most were delivered by normal spontaneous vaginal delivery (84%). Fetal complications occurred in 33% of the deliveries, with respiratory distress accounting for the majority of complications. There were no statistically significant clinical or biochemical predictors associated with an increased risk of fetal complications. Elevated TBA had little association with fetal complications until reaching greater than 100 µmoL/L, with 3 out of 5 having reported complications. ICP in previous pregnancies was associated with decreased risk of fetal complications (OR 0.21, p = 0.046). There were no cases of late term fetal demise.
Maternal clinical and laboratory features, including elevated TBA, did not appear to be substantial predictors of fetal complications in ICP.
PMCID: PMC3293870  PMID: 22403605
37.  Age-Related Skeletal Muscle Decline Is Similar in HIV-Infected and Uninfected Individuals 
Skeletal muscle (SM) mass decreases with advanced age and with disease in HIV infection. It is unknown whether age-related muscle loss is accelerated in the current era of antiretroviral therapy and which factors might contribute to muscle loss among HIV-infected adults. We hypothesized that muscle mass would be lower and decline faster in HIV-infected adults than in similar-aged controls.
Whole-body 1H-magnetic resonance imaging was used to quantify regional and total SM in 399 HIV-infected and 204 control men and women at baseline and 5 years later. Multivariable regression identified associated factors.
At baseline and Year 5, total SM was lower in HIV-infected than control men. HIV-infected women were similar to control women at both time points. After adjusting for demographics, lifestyle factors, and total adipose tissue, HIV infection was associated with lower Year 5 SM in men and higher SM in women compared with controls. Average overall 5-year change in total SM was small and age related, but rate of change was similar in HIV-infected and control men and women. CD4 count and efavirenz use in HIV-infected participants were associated with increasing SM, whereas age and stavudine use were associated with decreasing SM.
Muscle mass was lower in HIV-infected men compared with controls, whereas HIV-infected women had slightly higher SM than control women after multivariable adjustment. We found evidence against substantially faster SM decline in HIV infected versus similar-aged controls. SM gain was associated with increasing CD4 count, whereas stavudine use may contribute to SM loss.
PMCID: PMC3041474  PMID: 21310810
Sarcopenia; Lipoatrophy; Fat redistribution; Body composition
38.  The Calm Mouse: An Animal Model of Stress Reduction 
Molecular Medicine  2012;18(1):606-617.
Chronic stress is associated with negative health outcomes and is linked with neuroendocrine changes, deleterious effects on innate and adaptive immunity, and central nervous system neuropathology. Although stress management is commonly advocated clinically, there is insufficient mechanistic understanding of how decreasing stress affects disease pathogenesis. Therefore, we have developed a “calm mouse model” with caging enhancements designed to reduce murine stress. Male BALB/c mice were divided into four groups: control (Cntl), standard caging; calm (Calm), large caging to reduce animal density, a cardboard nest box for shelter, paper nesting material to promote innate nesting behavior, and a polycarbonate tube to mimic tunneling; control exercise (Cntl Ex), standard caging with a running wheel, known to reduce stress; and calm exercise (Calm Ex), calm caging with a running wheel. Calm, Cntl Ex and Calm Ex animals exhibited significantly less corticosterone production than Cntl animals. We also observed changes in spleen mass, and in vitro splenocyte studies demonstrated that Calm Ex animals had innate and adaptive immune responses that were more sensitive to acute handling stress than those in Cntl. Calm animals gained greater body mass than Cntl, although they had similar food intake, and we also observed changes in body composition, using magnetic resonance imaging. Together, our results suggest that the Calm mouse model represents a promising approach to studying the biological effects of stress reduction in the context of health and in conjunction with existing disease models.
PMCID: PMC3388136  PMID: 22398685
39.  Sexual Serosorting among Women with or at Risk of HIV Infection 
AIDS and behavior  2011;15(1):9-15.
Serosorting, the practice of selectively engaging in unprotected sex with partners of the same HIV serostatus, has been proposed as a strategy for reducing HIV transmission risk among men who have sex with men (MSM). However, there is a paucity of scientific evidence regarding whether women engage in serosorting. We analyzed longitudinal data on women’s sexual behavior with male partners collected in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study from 2001 to 2005. Serosorting was defined as an increasing trend of unprotected anal or vaginal sex (UAVI) within seroconcordant partnerships over time, more frequent UAVI within seroconcordant partnerships compared to non-concordant partnerships, or having UAVI only with seroconcordant partners. Repeated measures Poisson regression models were used to examine the associations between serostatus partnerships and UAVI among HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected women. The study sample consisted of 1,602 HIV-infected and 664 HIV-uninfected women. Over the follow-up period, the frequency of seroconcordant partnerships increased for HIV-uninfected women but the prevalence of UAVI within seroconcordant partnerships remained stable. UAVI was reported more frequently within HIV seroconcordant partnerships than among serodiscordant or unknown serostatus partnerships, regardless of the participant’s HIV status or types of partners. Among women with both HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected partners, 41% (63 HIV-infected and 9 HIV-uninfected) were having UAVI only with seroconcordant partners. Our analyses suggest that serosorting is occurring among both HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected women in this cohort.
PMCID: PMC2987377  PMID: 20490909
HIV; Unprotected sex; Serosorting; Risk reduction; Condom use
40.  Breaking Free of Sample Size Dogma to Perform Innovative Translational Research 
Science translational medicine  2011;3(87):87ps24.
Innovative clinical and translational research is often delayed or prevented by reviewers’ expectations that any study performed in humans must be shown in advance to have high statistical power. This supposed requirement is not justifiable and is contradicted by the reality that increasing sample size produces diminishing marginal returns. Studies of new ideas often must start small (sometimes even with an N of 1) because of cost and feasibility concerns, and recent statistical work shows that small sample sizes for such research can produce more projected scientific value per dollar spent than larger sample sizes. Renouncing false dogma about sample size would remove a serious barrier to innovation and translation.
PMCID: PMC3134305  PMID: 21677197
41.  Associations of antiretroviral drug use and HIV-specific risk factors with carotid intima–media thickness 
AIDS (London, England)  2010;24(14):2201-2209.
Previous research has demonstrated an increase in carotid intima–media thickness (cIMT) in HIV-infected individuals compared to controls. However, the reason for this increased level of subclinical vascular disease is unknown.
To identify HIV-related risk factors for increased cIMT.
We evaluated the relationship between HIV-related characteristics (including markers of HIV disease severity and use of antiretroviral therapy) and cIMT measurements in the internal/bulb and common carotid regions among 538 HIV-infected participants from the Study of Fat Redistribution and Metabolic Change in HIV Infection (FRAM). We used Bayesian model averaging to estimate the posterior probability of candidate HIV and non-HIV-related risk factors being true predictors of increased cIMT. Variables with a posterior probability of more than 50% were used to develop a selected regression model for each of the anatomic regions.
For common cIMT, the Bayesian model selection process identified age, African-American race, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure with probability more than 95%, HDL cholesterol with probability 85% and Hispanic ethnicity with probability 51%. Among the HIV-related factors included in the analysis, only tenofovir use was selected (51% probability). In the selected model, duration of tenofovir use was associated with lower common cIMT (−0.0094 mm/year of use; 95% confidence interval: −0.0177 to −0.0010). For internal cIMT, no HIV-related risk factors were above the 50% posterior probability threshold.
We observed an inverse association between duration of tenofovir use and common carotid cIMT. Whether this association is causal or due to confounding by indication needs further investigation.
PMCID: PMC3224487  PMID: 20671544
atherosclerosis; carotid intima–media thickness; HIV; tenofovir
42.  Association of Low Level Viremia with Inflammation and Mortality in HIV-Infected Adults 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(11):e26320.
Whether HIV viremia, particularly at low levels is associated with inflammation, increased coagulation, and all-cause mortality is unclear.
The associations of HIV RNA level with C-reactive protein (CRP), fibrinogen, interleukin (IL)-6 and mortality were evaluated in 1116 HIV-infected participants from the Study of Fat Redistribution and Metabolic Change in HIV infection. HIV RNA level was categorized as undetectable (i.e., “target not detected”), 1–19, 20–399, 400–9999, and ≥10,000 copies/ml. Covariates included demographics, lifestyle, adipose tissue, and HIV-related factors.
HIV RNA level had little association with CRP. Categories of HIV RNA below 10,000 copies/ml had similar levels of IL-6 compared with an undetectable HIV RNA level, while HIV RNA ≥10,000 copies/ml was associated with 89% higher IL-6 (p<0.001). This association was attenuated by ∼50% after adjustment for CD4+ cell count. Higher HIV RNA was associated with higher fibrinogen. Compared to an undetectable HIV RNA level, fibrinogen was 0.6%, 1.9%, 4.5%, 4.6%, and 9.4% higher across HIV RNA categories, respectively, and statistically significant at the highest level (p = 0.0002 for HIV RNA ≥10,000 copies/ml). Higher HIV RNA was associated with mortality during follow-up in unadjusted analysis, but showed little association after adjustment for CD4+ cell count and inflammation.
HIV RNA ≥10,000 copies/ml was associated with higher IL-6 and fibrinogen, but lower levels of viremia appeared similar, and there was little association with CRP. The relationship of HIV RNA with IL-6 was strongly affected by CD4 cell depletion. After adjustment for CD4+ cell count and inflammation, viremia did not appear to be substantially associated with mortality risk over 5 years.
PMCID: PMC3206804  PMID: 22073156
43.  Inflammation and Mortality in HIV-infected Adults: Analysis of the FRAM Study Cohort 
To determine the association of inflammatory markers, fibrinogen and C-reactive protein (CRP), with 5-year mortality risk.
Vital status was ascertained in 922 HIV-infected participants from the Study of Fat Redistribution and Metabolic Change in HIV infection. Multivariable logistic regression estimated odds ratios (OR) after adjustment for demographic, cardiovascular and HIV-related factors.
Over a 5-year period, HIV-infected participants with fibrinogen levels in the highest tertile(>406mg/dL) had 2.6-fold higher adjusted odds of death than those with fibrinogen in the lowest tertile(<319mg/dL). Those with high CRP(>3mg/L) had 2.7-fold higher adjusted odds of death than those with CRP<1mg/L. When stratified by CD4 count category, fibrinogen (as a linear variable) remained independently associated [OR(95% confidence intervals) per 100mg/dL increase in fibrinogen: 1.93(1.57,2.37);1.43(1.14,1.79);1.43(1.14,1.81);and 1.30(1.04,1.63) for CD4 <200,200–350,>350–500, and >500cells/μL, respectively. Higher CRP also remained associated with higher odds of death overall and within each CD4 subgroup.
Fibrinogen and CRP are strong and independent predictors of mortality in HIV-infected adults. Our findings suggest that even in those with relatively preserved CD4 counts >500cells/μL, inflammation remains an important risk factor for mortality. Further investigation should determine whether interventions to reduce inflammation might decrease mortality risk in HIV-infected individuals.
PMCID: PMC2955817  PMID: 20581689
HIV; inflammation; C-reactive protein; fibrinogen; mortality
44.  Cystatin C, Albuminuria, and 5-Year All-Cause Mortality in HIV-Infected Persons 
Compared with controls, HIV-infected persons have a greater prevalence of kidney disease as assessed by high levels of cystatin C and albuminuria, but not as assessed by creatinine level. However, the clinical importance of elevated cystatin C and albuminuria in the HIV-infected population has not been studied.
Study Design
We conducted an observational cohort study to determine the association of kidney disease (measured by albuminuria, cystatin C, and serum creatinine) with mortality.
Setting & Participants
922 HIV-infected persons enrolled in the FRAM (Fat Redistribution and Metabolic Change in HIV infection) study.
Serum cystatin C and serum creatinine were used to estimate glomerular filtration rate (eGFR). Albuminuria was defined as a positive urine dipstick (≥1+) or a urine albumin-creatinine ratio > 30 mg/g.
5-year mortality
At baseline, reduced kidney function (eGFRSCysC <60 mL/min/1.73m2) or albuminuria was present in 28% of participants. After five years of follow-up, mortality was 48% among those with both eGFRSCysC <60 mL/min/1.73m2 and albuminuria, 23% in those with eGFRSCysC <60 mL/min/1.73m2 alone, 20% in those with albuminuria alone, and 9% in those with neither condition. After multivariable adjustment for demographics, cardiovascular risk factors, HIV-related factors, and inflammatory markers, eGFRSCysC <60 mL/min/1.73m2 and albuminuria were associated with nearly a twofold increase in mortality, whereas eGFRSCr <60 mL/min/1.73m2 did not appear to have any substantial association with mortality. Together, eGFRSCysC <60 mL/min/1.73m2 and albuminuria accounted for 17% of the population-level attributable risk for mortality.
Vital status was unknown in 261 participants from the original cohort.
Kidney disease marked by albuminuria or increased cystatin C levels appears to be an important risk factor for mortality in HIV-infected individuals. A substantial proportion of this risk may be unrecognized because of the current reliance on serum creatinine to estimate kidney function in clinical practice.
PMCID: PMC3164880  PMID: 20709438
kidney disease; mortality; HIV infection
45.  Cystatin C Level as a Marker of Kidney Function in Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection 
Archives of internal medicine  2007;167(20):2213-2219.
Although studies have reported a high prevalence of end-stage renal disease in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected individuals, little is known about moderate impairments in kidney function. Cystatin C measurement may be more sensitive than creatinine for detecting impaired kidney function in persons with HIV.
We evaluated kidney function in the Fat Redistribution and Metabolic Change in HIV Infection (FRAM) cohort, a representative sample of 1008 HIV-infected persons and 290 controls from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study in the United States.
Cystatin C level was elevated in HIV-infected individuals; the mean±SD cystatin C level was 0.92±0.22 mg/L in those infected with HIV and 0.76±0.15 mg/L in controls (P<.001). In contrast, both mean creatinine levels and estimated glomerular filtration rates appeared similar in HIV-infected individuals and controls (0.87±0.21 vs 0.85±0.19 mg/dL [to convert to micromoles per liter, multiply by 88.4] [P=.35] and 110±26 vs 106±23 mL/min/1.73 m2 [P=.06], respectively). Persons with HIV infection were more likely to have a cystatin C level greater than 1.0 mg/L (OR, 9.8; 95% confidence interval, 4.4-22.0 [P<.001]), a threshold demonstrated to be associated with increased risk for death and cardiovascular and kidney disease. Among participants with HIV, potentially modifiable risk factors for kidney disease, hypertension, and low high-density lipoprotein concentration were associated with a higher cystatin C level, as were lower CD4 lymphocyte count and coinfection with hepatitis C virus (all P<.001).
Individuals infected with HIV had substantially worse kidney function when measured by cystatin Clevel compared with HIV-negative controls, whereas mean creatinine levels and estimated glomerular filtration rates were similar. Cystatin C measurement could be a useful clinical tool to identify HIV-infected persons at increased risk for kidney and cardiovascular disease.
PMCID: PMC3189482  PMID: 17998494
46.  Influence of Cannabis Use on Severity of Hepatitis C Disease 
Complications of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection are primarily related to the development of advanced fibrosis.
Baseline data from a prospective community-based cohort study of 204 persons with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection were used for analysis. The outcome was fibrosis score on biopsy and the primary predictor evaluated was daily cannabis use.
The median age of the cohort was 46.8 years, 69.1% were male, 49.0% were Caucasian, and the presumed route of infection was injection drug use in 70.1%. The median lifetime duration and average daily use of alcohol were 29.1 years and 1.94 drink equivalents per day. Cannabis use frequency (within prior 12 months) was daily in 13.7%, occasional in 45.1%, and never in 41.2%. Fibrosis stage, assessed by Ishak method, was F0, F1–2 and F3–6 in 27.5%, 55.4% and 17.2% of subjects, respectively. Daily compared to non-daily cannabis use was significantly associated with moderate to severe fibrosis (F3–6 versus F1–2) in univariate [OR = 3.21 (95% CI, 1.20–8.56), p = 0.020] and multivariate analyses (OR = 6.78, (1.89–24.31), p=0.003). Other independent predictors of F3–6 were ≥11 portal tracts (compared to <5, OR = 6.92 (1.34–35.7), p=0.021] and lifetime duration of moderate and heavy alcohol use [OR per decade = 1.72 (1.02–2.90), p=0.044].
We conclude that daily cannabis use is strongly associated with moderate to severe fibrosis and that HCV-infected individuals should be counseled to reduce or abstain from cannabis use.
PMCID: PMC3184401  PMID: 18166478
fibrosis; alcohol; viral load; marijuana; cirrhosis
47.  Association of Upper Trunk and Visceral Adipose Tissue Volume With Insulin Resistance in Control and HIV-Infected Subjects in the FRAM Study 
Visceral obesity is associated with insulin resistance, but the association of other regional adipose depots with insulin resistance is not understood. In HIV infection, buffalo hump (upper trunk fat) is associated, but the association of upper trunk fat with insulin resistance has not been examined in controls. To determine the independent association of adipose depots other than visceral with insulin resistance, we performed a cross-sectional analysis of controls and HIV-infected subjects in the Fat Redistribution and Metabolic Change in HIV Infection (FRAM) study, who had measurements of glucose, insulin, and adipose tissue volumes by whole-body magnetic resonance imaging. We studied 926 HIV-positive persons from 16 academic medical center clinics and trials units with demographic characteristics representative of US patients with HIV infection and 258 FRAM controls from the population-based Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study. We measured visceral adipose tissue (VAT) and subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) volume in the legs, arms, lower trunk (back and abdomen), and upper trunk (back and chest) and assessed their association with the homeostasis model of assessment (HOMA) and HOMA >4 by stepwise multivariable analysis. The prevalence of HOMA >4 as a marker of insulin resistance was 28% among controls compared with 37% among HIV-infected subjects (P = 0.005). Among controls, those in the highest tertile of upper trunk SAT volume had an odds ratio (OR) of 9.0 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.4 to 34; P = 0.001) for having HOMA >4 compared with the lowest tertile, whereas in HIV-positive subjects, the OR was lower (OR = 2.09, 95% CI: 1.36 to 3.19; P = 0.001). Among controls, the highest tertile of VAT volume had an OR of 12.1 (95% CI: 3.2 to 46; P = 0.0002) of having HOMA >4 compared with the lowest tertile, whereas in HIV-positive subjects, the OR was 3.12 (95% CI: 2.0 to 4.8; P < 0.0001). After adjusting for VAT and upper trunk SAT, the association of other SAT depots with HOMA >4 did not reach statistical significance. Thus, VAT and upper trunk SAT are independently associated with insulin resistance in controls and in HIV-infected persons.
PMCID: PMC3164883  PMID: 18167644
buffalo hump; fat distribution; insulin resistance; lipodystrophy; visceral obesity
48.  Association Between Hepatitis C Virus Coinfection and Regional Adipose Tissue Volume in HIV-Infected Men and Women 
Coinfection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) is reported to be associated with a higher prevalence of lipodystrophy than HIV infection alone. We examine the association between HCV and adipose tissue volume in HIV-infected men and women.
Cross-sectional analysis of HIV-infected subjects from the study of Fat Redistribution and Metabolic Change in HIV Infection. MRI measured regional adipose tissue volume. Detectable HCV RNA defined HCV infection.
Twenty percent of 792 men and 26% of 329 women were HIV/HCV-coinfected. HIV/HCV-coinfected and HIV-monoinfected women had similar amounts of subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) in the leg, lower trunk, upper trunk, and arm and similar amounts of visceral adipose tissue (VAT). Similar findings were seen in men, except in the leg and VAT. After adjustment, HCV infection remained associated with more leg fat in men (12.2%, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.3 to 25.3; P = 0.043). Among those on stavudine, HIV-monoinfected men had less leg fat (−7% effect per year of stavudine use, 95% CI: −9 to −5; P < 0.001); a weaker association was seen in HIV/HCV-coinfected men (−2% effect, 95% CI: −7 to 3; P = 0.45). Indinavir was associated with less leg fat (−4% in HIV-monoinfected men, 95% CI: −6 to −1; P = 0.002; −5% in HIV/HCV-coinfected men, 95% CI: −11 to 2; P = 0.14).
Our findings suggest that HIV/HCV coinfection is not associated with less SAT in men and women. HCV infection seems to mitigate the loss of leg fat seen in HIV-infected men on stavudine.
PMCID: PMC3164885  PMID: 17356466
adipose tissue volume; fat distribution; hepatitis C virus; HIV; lipodystrophy
49.  The Associations of Regional Adipose Tissue with Lipid and Lipoprotein Levels in HIV-infected Men 
HIV infection and antiretroviral therapy are associated with dyslipidemia, but the association between regional adipose tissue depots and lipid levels is not defined.
The association of MRI-measured visceral (VAT) and regional subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) volume with fasting lipid parameters was analyzed by multivariable linear regression in 737 HIV-infected and 145 control men from the study of Fat Redistribution and Metabolic Change in HIV Infection (FRAM).
HIV-infected men had higher median triglycerides (TG) (170mg/dl vs. 107mg/dl, p<0.0001), lower high density lipoprotein (HDL-C) (38mg/dl vs. 46mg/dl, p<0.0001) and lower low density lipoprotein (LDL-C) (105mg/dl vs. 125mg/dl, p<0.0001) than controls. After adjustment, greater VAT was associated with higher TG and lower HDL-C in both HIV-infected and control men, while greater leg SAT was associated with lower TG in HIV-infected men with a similar trend in controls. More upper trunk SAT was associated with higher LDL-C and lower HDL-C in controls, while more lower trunk SAT was associated with higher TG in controls. After adjustment, HIV infection remained strongly associated (p<0.0001) with higher TG (+76%, CI: 53, 103), lower LDL-C (−19%, CI: −25,−12), and lower HDL-C (−18%, CI: −22,−12).
HIV-infected men are more likely than controls to have higher TG and lower HDL-C, which promote atherosclerosis, but also lower LDL-C. Less leg SAT and more VAT are important factors associated with high TG and low HDL-C in HIV-infected men. The reduced leg SAT in HIV-infected men with lipoatrophy places them at increased risk for pro-atherogenic dyslipidemia.
PMCID: PMC3156607  PMID: 18360291
50.  Comparison of DXA and MRI-measured adipose tissue depots in HIV-infected and control subjects 
Studies in persons without HIV infection have compared dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) measured adipose tissue (AT), but no such study has been conducted in HIV+ subjects, who have a high prevalence of regional fat loss.
We compared DXA with MRI-measured trunk, leg, arm, and total fat in HIV+ and control subjects.
Cross-sectional analysis in 877 HIV+ and 260 controls in FRAM (Fat Redistribution and Metabolic Change in HIV Infection), stratified by sex and HIV status.
Univariate associations of DXA with MRI were strongest for total and trunk fat (r≥0.92), and slightly weaker in leg (r≥0.87) and arm (r≥0.71). Estimated limb fat averaged substantially higher for DXA than MRI for HIV+ and control, men and women (all p<0.0001). Trunk showed much less difference between DXA and MRI, but was still statistically significant (p<0.0001). Bland-Altman plots showed increasing differences and variability; higher average limb fat in controls and HIV+ (both p<0.0001) was associated with greater DXA vs. MRI difference. As controls have more limb fat than HIV+, the bias leads to even higher fat measured by DXA than by MRI when controls are compared to HIV+; more HIV+ subjects had leg fat in the bottom decile of controls by DXA than by MRI (p<0.0001).
Although DXA and MRI-measured AT depots correlate strongly in HIV+ subjects and controls, differences increase as average fat increases, particularly for limb fat. DXA may estimate a higher peripheral lipoatrophy prevalence than MRI in HIV+ subjects.
PMCID: PMC3156610  PMID: 18842798
DXA; MRI; adipose tissue depots; lipoatrophy; HIV infection

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