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1.  High Retention in Care Among HIV-Infected Patients Entering Care With CD4 Levels >350 cells/μL Under Routine Program Conditions in Uganda 
Accounting for outcomes among those lost to follow-up in a Ugandan HIV treatment program among patients entering care with a CD4 count >350 cells/µL and not immediately eligible for antiretroviral therapy reveals retention to be higher than most prevailing estimates.
Background. In Africa, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–infected patients who present to care with CD4 levels >350 cells/µL (ie, current antiretroviral treatment thresholds) are often thought to be poorly retained in care, but most estimates do not account for outcomes among patients lost to follow-up.
Methods. We evaluated HIV-infected adults who had made a visit in the last 2.5 years in a program in Uganda. We identified a random sample of patients lost to follow-up (9 months without a visit). Ascertainers sought patients in the community in this sample and outcomes were incorporated into revised survival estimates of mortality and retention for the clinic population using a probability weight.
Results. Of 6473 patients, (29% male, median age 29 years, median CD4 count 550 cells/µL), 1294 (20%) became lost to follow-up over 2.5 years. Two hundred seven (16%) randomly selected lost patients were sought, and in 175 (85%) vital status was ascertained. In 19 of 175 (11%), the patient had died. Of the 156 (89%) alive, 74 (47%) were interviewed in person, and 38 of 74 (51%) reported HIV care elsewhere, whereas 36 of 74 (49%) were not in care. Application of weights derived from sampling found that at 2.5 years, retention among patients who enrolled with CD4 levels >350 cells/µL was 88.2% and mortality was 2.5%. Lower income, unemployment, and rural residence were associated with failure to be retained.
Conclusions. Retention in patients entering care with high CD4 counts under routine program conditions in Africa is high in a Ugandan care program and may be systematically underestimated in many other settings.
PMCID: PMC3792723  PMID: 23899683
HIV; Africa; retention; CD4
2.  Programmed death-1 expression on CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in treated and untreated HIV disease 
AIDS (London, England)  2014;28(12):1749-1758.
There is intense interest in the role of programmed death 1 (PD-1) in causing persistent T-cell dysfunction in HIV infection. However, the impact of HIV infection and antiretroviral treatment (ART) on the expression of PD-1 on T cells is still poorly defined.
PD-1 was measured longitudinally in a cohort of recently HIV-infected individuals (n = 121) who started ART early (<6 months after infection) vs. later (≥2 years after infection). PD-1 was also measured cross-sectionally in a diverse cohort of chronically HIV-infected adults (n = 206).
PD-1 expression levels were high on CD8+ T cells during early HIV infection. PD-1 levels increased on both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells populations in those who delayed therapy (11 and 10%/year, respectively). PD-1 levels declined and were similar in those treated early vs. late after 1 year of ART. In both cohorts, PD-1 expression on CD4+ T cells was associated with CD4+ T-cell activation (CD38+HLA-DR+) and inversely with CD4+ cell count. In contrast, PD-1 expression on CD8+ T cells was most strongly associated with CD8+ T-cell activation and with plasma viral load in viremic individuals.
Across two large cohorts of untreated and treated individuals, we found consistent associations between HIV RNA levels, CD8+ T-cell activation and PD-1 expression on CD8+ T cells. In contrast, CD4+ T-cell counts and CD4+ T-cell activation were more consistent correlates of PD-1 expression on CD4+ T cells. PD-1 expression appears to be driven by both direct antigen and homeostatic pathways.
PMCID: PMC4206412  PMID: 24871455
CD4+ lymphocyte count; early antiretroviral therapy; HIV antiretroviral therapy; HIV-1/immunology/*physiology; humans; programmed death-1; T-cell activation; T lymphocytes/immunology/*physiology; virus replication/physiology
3.  Antiretroviral Therapy Initiated Within 6 Months of HIV Infection Is Associated With Lower T-Cell Activation and Smaller HIV Reservoir Size 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2013;208(8):1202-1211.
Background. CD4+/CD8+ T-cell activation levels often remain elevated in chronic human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection despite initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART). T-cell activation predicts early death and blunted CD4+ T-cell recovery during ART and may affect persistent HIV reservoir size. We investigated whether very early ART initiation is associated with lower on-therapy immune activation and HIV persistence.
Methods. From a cohort of patients with early HIV infection (<6 months duration since infection) we identified persons who started ART early (<6 months after infection) or later (≥2 years after infection) and maintained ≥2 years of virologic suppression; at-risk HIV-negative persons were controls. We measured CD4+/CD8+ T-cell activation (percent CD38+/HLA-DR+) and HIV reservoir size (based on HIV DNA and cell-associated RNA levels).
Results. In unadjusted analyses, early ART predicted lower on-therapy CD8+ T-cell activation (n = 34; mean, 22.1%) than achieved with later ART (n = 32; mean, 28.8%; P = .009), although levels in early ART remained elevated relative to HIV-negative controls (P = .02). Early ART also predicted lower CD4+ T-cell activation than with later ART (5.3% vs 7.5%; P = .06). Early ART predicted 4.8-fold lower DNA levels than achieved with later ART (P = .005), and lower cell-associated RNA levels (difference in signal-to-cutoff ratio (S/Co), 3.2; P = .035).
Conclusions. ART initiation <6 months after infection is associated with lower levels of T-cell activation and smaller HIV DNA and RNA reservoir size during long-term therapy.
PMCID: PMC3778965  PMID: 23852127
HIV antiretroviral therapy; early ART; T-cell activation; inflammation; HIVreservoir; HIV eradication; HIV cure
4.  Cell-Based Measures of Viral Persistence Are Associated With Immune Activation and Programmed Cell Death Protein 1 (PD-1)–Expressing CD4+ T cells 
Background. Studies aimed at defining the association between host immune responses and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) persistence during therapy are necessary to develop new strategies for cure.
Methods. We performed a comprehensive assessment of ultrasensitive plasma HIV RNA levels, cell-associated HIV RNA levels, proviral HIV DNA levels, and T cell immunophenotyping in a cohort of 190 subjects in whom HIV levels were suppressed by highly active antiretroviral therapy.
Results. The median CD4+ T cell count was 523 cells/mm3, and the median duration of viral suppression was 31 months. Cell-associated RNA and proviral DNA levels (but not ultrasensitive plasma HIV RNA levels) were positively correlated with frequencies of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells expressing markers of T-cell activation/dysfunction (CD38, HLA-DR, CCR5, and/or programmed cell death protein 1 [PD-1]) (P < .05). Having a low CD4+ T-cell count despite receipt of virologically suppressive therapy was associated with high cell-associated RNA and proviral DNA levels (P < .01) and higher frequencies of CD4+ T cells expressing CD38, HLA-DR, CCR5, and/or PD-1 (P < .0001).
Conclusions. Cell-based measurements of viral persistence were consistently associated with markers of immune activation and the frequency of PD-1–expressing CD4+ T cells. Treated patients with a low CD4+ T-cell count had higher frequencies of PD-1–expressing CD4+ T cells and cell-based measures of viral persistence, suggesting that HIV infection in these individuals may be more difficult to cure and may require unique interventions.
PMCID: PMC3666131  PMID: 23089590
HIV; raltegravir intensification; 2-LTR circles; ongoing viral replication; D-dimer
5.  HIV-Infected Individuals with Low CD4/CD8 Ratio despite Effective Antiretroviral Therapy Exhibit Altered T Cell Subsets, Heightened CD8+ T Cell Activation, and Increased Risk of Non-AIDS Morbidity and Mortality 
PLoS Pathogens  2014;10(5):e1004078.
A low CD4/CD8 ratio in elderly HIV-uninfected adults is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. A subset of HIV-infected adults receiving effective antiretroviral therapy (ART) fails to normalize this ratio, even after they achieve normal CD4+ T cell counts. The immunologic and clinical characteristics of this clinical phenotype remain undefined. Using data from four distinct clinical cohorts and three clinical trials, we show that a low CD4/CD8 ratio in HIV-infected adults during otherwise effective ART (after CD4 count recovery above 500 cells/mm3) is associated with a number of immunological abnormalities, including a skewed T cell phenotype from naïve toward terminally differentiated CD8+ T cells, higher levels of CD8+ T cell activation (HLADR+CD38+) and senescence (CD28− and CD57+CD28−), and higher kynurenine/tryptophan ratio. Changes in the peripheral CD4/CD8 ratio are also reflective of changes in gut mucosa, but not in lymph nodes. In a longitudinal study, individuals who initiated ART within six months of infection had greater CD4/CD8 ratio increase compared to later initiators (>2 years). After controlling for age, gender, ART duration, nadir and CD4 count, the CD4/CD8 ratio predicted increased risk of morbidity and mortality. Hence, a persistently low CD4/CD8 ratio during otherwise effective ART is associated with increased innate and adaptive immune activation, an immunosenescent phenotype, and higher risk of morbidity/mortality. This ratio may prove useful in monitoring response to ART and could identify a unique subset of individuals needed of novel therapeutic interventions.
Author Summary
The CD4/CD8 ratio, a hallmark of the collection of T cell defects related to aging –“immunosenescence”- and a predictor of mortality in the general population, often fails to normalize in an important proportion of HIV-infected individuals with adequate CD4+ T cell recovery after ART initiation. However, the immunological and clinical characteristics of this clinical phenotype have not been elucidated. Herein we show that during treated HIV infection, expansion of CD8+ T cells, reflected as a low CD4/CD8 ratio, identifies a subgroup of individuals with a number of immunological abnormalities and a poor prognosis. These subjects exhibit increased innate and adaptive immune activation, an immunosenescent phenotype, CD4+ and CD8+ imbalance in the gut mucosa and higher risk of morbidity and mortality. In contrast, those who normalize the CD4/CD8 ratio have traits of a healthy immune system. We observed that early ART initiation might contribute to more rapid and robust CD4/CD8 ratio normalization compared to later initiation. Hence, the CD4/CD8 ratio might help to further discriminate the risk of disease progression of successfully treated HIV-infected individuals, and a successful response to ART may require both normalization of the peripheral CD4+ T cell count and the ratio of CD4+ to CD8+ T cell counts.
PMCID: PMC4022662  PMID: 24831517
7.  Assessment of Population-Based HIV RNA Levels in a Rural East African Setting Using a Fingerprick-Based Blood Collection Method 
Population-based human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) RNA metrics can help estimate antiretroviral therapy effectiveness within a community. We developed a fingerprick-based viral load technique and measured population HIV RNA levels in a rural Ugandan community, providing the first report from a resource limited setting.
Background. Population-based human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) RNA levels (viral load [VL]) are proposed metrics for antiretroviral therapy (ART) program effectiveness. We estimated population-based HIV RNA levels using a fingerprick-based approach in a rural Ugandan community implementing rapid ART scale-up.
Methods. A fingerprick-based HIV RNA measurement technique was validated against standard phlebotomy. This technique was deployed during a 5-day community-wide health campaign in a 6300-person community. Assessments included rapid HIV antibody testing, VL, and CD4+ T-cell count via fingerprick. We estimated population HIV RNA levels and the prevalence of undetectable RNA, assessed predictors of VL via linear regression, and mapped RNA levels within community geographic units.
Results. During the community-wide health campaign, 179 of 2282 adults (7.8%) and 10 of 1826 children (0.5%) tested seropositive for HIV. Fingerprick VL was determined in 174 of 189 HIV-positive persons (92%). The mean log(VL) was 3.67 log (95% confidence interval [CI], 3.50–3.83 log copies/mL), median VL was 2720 copies/mL (interquartile range, <486–38 120 copies/mL), and arithmetic mean VL was 64 064 copies/mL. Overall, 64 of 174 of individuals had undetectable RNA (37% [95% CI, 30%–44%]), 24% had VL 486–10 000; 25% had VL 10 001–100 000; and 15% had VL>100 000 copies/mL. Among participants taking ART, 83% had undetectable VL.
Conclusions. We developed and implemented a fingerprick VL testing method and provide the first report of population HIV RNA levels in Africa. In a rural Ugandan community experiencing ART scale-up, we found evidence of population-level ART effectiveness, but found a substantial population to be viremic, in need of ART, and at risk for transmission.
PMCID: PMC3552523  PMID: 23243180
population HIV-RNA levels; viral load; fingerprick; ART effectiveness; epidemiology
8.  Uptake of Community-Based HIV Testing during a Multi-Disease Health Campaign in Rural Uganda 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e84317.
The high burden of undiagnosed HIV in sub-Saharan Africa is a major obstacle for HIV prevention and treatment. Multi-disease, community health campaigns (CHCs) offering HIV testing are a successful approach to rapidly increase HIV testing rates and identify undiagnosed HIV. However, a greater understanding of population-level uptake is needed to maximize effectiveness of this approach.
After community sensitization and a census, a five-day campaign was performed in May 2012 in a rural Ugandan community. The census enumerated all residents, capturing demographics, household location, and fingerprint biometrics. The CHC included point-of-care screening for HIV, malaria, TB, hypertension and diabetes. Residents who attended vs. did not attend the CHC were compared to determine predictors of participation.
Over 12 days, 18 census workers enumerated 6,343 residents. 501 additional residents were identified at the campaign, for a total community population of 6,844. 4,323 (63%) residents and 556 non-residents attended the campaign. HIV tests were performed in 4,795/4,879 (98.3%) participants; 1,836 (38%) reported no prior HIV testing. Of 2674 adults tested, 257 (10%) were HIV-infected; 125/257 (49%) reported newly diagnosed HIV. In unadjusted analyses, adult resident campaign non-participation was associated with male sex (62% male vs. 67% female participation, p = 0.003), younger median age (27 years in non-participants vs. 32 in participants; p<0.001), and marital status (48% single vs. 71% married/widowed/divorced participation; p<0.001). In multivariate analysis, single adults were significantly less likely to attend the campaign than non-single adults (relative risk [RR]: 0.63 [95% CI: 0.53–0.74]; p<0.001), and adults at home vs. not home during census activities were significantly more likely to attend the campaign (RR: 1.20 [95% CI: 1.13–1.28]; p<0.001).
CHCs provide a rapid approach to testing a majority of residents for HIV in rural African settings. However, complementary strategies are still needed to engage young, single adults and achieve universal testing.
PMCID: PMC3879307  PMID: 24392124
9.  The Effect of a “Universal Antiretroviral Therapy” Recommendation on HIV RNA Levels Among HIV-Infected Patients Entering Care With a CD4 Count Greater Than 500/µL in a Public Health Setting 
A recommendation by San Francisco General Hospital in January 2010 to initiate antiretroviral therapy in all human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–infected patients led to a rapid increase in HIV RNA suppression among patients with a CD4 cell count of >500 cells/μL after clinic enrollment.
Background. On 1 January 2010, a large, publicly funded clinic in San Francisco announced a “universal ART” approach to initiate antiretroviral therapy (ART) in all human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected persons. The effect of changing guidance on real-world patient outcomes has not been evaluated.
Methods. We evaluated untreated adult patients (defined as going >90 days without ART use) visiting clinic from 2001 to 2011. The cumulative incidence of HIV RNA suppression (viral load, <500 copies/mL), stratified by CD4 cell count at entry and calendar dates representing guideline issuance, were estimated using a competing risk framework. A multivariate Poisson-based model identified factors associated with HIV RNA suppression 6 months after clinic entry.
Results. Of 2245 adults, 87% were male, and the median age was 39 years (interquartile range, 33–45 years). In 534 patients entering clinic with a CD4 cell count of >500 cells/µL, the 1-year incidence of HIV RNA suppression was 10.1% (95% confidence interval [CI], 6.6%–14.6%) before 4 April 2005; 9.1% (95% CI, 3.6%–17.4%) from 4 April 2005 to 1 December 2007; 14.1% (95% CI, 7.5%–22.8%) from 1 December 2007 to the universal ART recommendation and 52.8% (95% CI, 38.2%–65.4%) after. After adjustment, the SFGH policy was associated with a 6-fold increase in the probability of HIV RNA suppression 6 months after clinic entry.
Conclusions. Recommendations to initiate ART in all HIV-infected patients increased the rate of HIV RNA suppression for patients enrolling in care with a CD4 cell count of >500 cells/µL and may foreshadow national trends given the March 2012 revision of national treatment guidelines to favor ART initiation for persons with CD4 cell counts of >500 cells/µL.
PMCID: PMC3501330  PMID: 22955429
10.  Epidemiology and awareness of hypertension in a rural Ugandan community: a cross-sectional study 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:1151.
Hypertension is one of the largest causes of preventable morbidity and mortality worldwide. There are few population-based studies on hypertension epidemiology to guide public health strategies in sub-Saharan Africa. Using a community-based strategy that integrated screening for HIV and non-communicable diseases, we determined the prevalence, awareness, treatment rates, and sociodemographic factors associated with hypertension in rural Uganda.
A household census was performed to enumerate the population in Kakyerere parish in Mbarara district, Uganda. A multi-disease community-based screening campaign for hypertension, diabetes, and HIV was then conducted. During the campaign, all adults received a blood pressure (BP) measurement and completed a survey examining sociodemographic factors. Hypertension was defined as elevated BP (≥140/≥90 mmHg) on the lowest of three BP measurements or current use of antihypertensives. Prevalence was calculated and standardized to age distribution. Sociodemographic factors associated with hypertension were evaluated using a log-link Poisson regression model with robust standard errors.
Community participation in the screening campaign was 65%, including 1245 women and 1007 men. The prevalence of hypertension was 14.6%; awareness of diagnosis (38.1%) and current receipt of treatment (20.6%) were both low. Age-standardized to the WHO world standard population, hypertension prevalence was 19.8%, which is comparable to 21.6% in the US and 18.4% in the UK. Sociodemographic factors associated with hypertension included increasing age, male gender, overweight, obesity, diabetes, alcohol consumption, and family history. Prevalence of modifiable factors was high: 28.3% women were overweight/obese and 24.1% men consumed ≥10 alcoholic drinks per month.
We found a substantial burden of hypertension in rural Uganda. Awareness and treatment of hypertension is low in this region. Enhanced community-based education and prevention efforts tailored to addressing modifiable factors are needed.
PMCID: PMC3890617  PMID: 24321133
Hypertension; Epidemiology; Blood pressure; Non-communicable disease; Community health; Health campaign; Public health; Sub-Saharan Africa; Uganda; Rural
11.  Attenuating effect of standardized fruit extract of punica granatum L in rat model of tibial and sural nerve transection induced neuropathic pain 
Injury to a nerve is the most common reason of acquired peripheral neuropathy. Therefore, searching for effective substance to recover of nerve after injury is need of present era. The current study investigates the protective potential of Standardized Fruit Extract of Punica granatum L (PFE) [Ellagic acid (41.6%), Punicalagins (10%), Granatin (5.1%)] in Tibial & Sural Nerve Transection (TST) induced neuropathic pain in rats.
TST was performed by sectioning tibial and sural nerve portions of the sciatic nerve and leaving the common peroneal nerve intact. Acetone drop, pin-prick, hot plate, paint brush & Walking Track tests were performed to assess cold allodynia; mechanical heat, hyperalgesia and dynamic mechanical allodynia & tibial functional index respectively. The levels of TNF-α, TBARS, GSH and Nitrite were measured in the sciatic nerve as an index of inflammation & oxidative stress.
TST led to significant development of cold allodynia; mechanical and heat hyperalgesia; dynamic mechanical allodynia; functional deficit in walking along with rise in the levels of TBARS, TNF-α, GSH and Nitrite. Administrations of PFE (100 & 300 mg/kg oral), significantly attenuate TST induced behavioral & biochemical changes. Pretreatments of BADGE (120 mg/kg IP) a PPAR-γ antagonist and nitric oxide precursor L-arginine (100 mg/kg IP) abolished the protective effect of PFE. Whereas, pretreatment of L-NAME (5 mg/kg IP) a NOS inhibitor significantly potentiated PFE’s protective effect of PFE.
PFE shown to have attenuating effect in TST induced neuropathic pain which may be attributed to potential PPAR-gamma agonistic activity, nitric oxide inhibitory, anti-inflammatory and anti oxidative actions.
PMCID: PMC4029061  PMID: 24499201
Punica granatum L; Neuropathic pain; TNF-alpha; BADGE; Oxidative stress
12.  Protective effect of Lannea coromandelica Houtt. Merrill. against three common pathogens 
Ayurvedic text reports suggested Lannea coromandelica is used in various microbial origin disorders like dysentery, sore eyes and leprosy, genital wounds.
The present study was designed to investigate the antimicrobial effect of L. coromandelica Houtt. Merrill. (Anacardiaceae) on microbes which cause female reproductive tract infection.
Materials and Methods:
Ethanolic and aqueous bark extract (Ext.) of L. coromandelica were screened against strains of Streptococcus pyogens, Staphylococcus aureus, and Candida albicans. Antimicrobial assay had been done with agar well diffusion method.
Ethanolic extracts [100% (16 mg), 75% (12 mg) and 50% (8 mg)] of L. coromandelica exhibited zone of inhibition (ZI) 19.21 mm, 18.45 mm, 16.41 mm and 18.12 mm, 17.35 mm, 16.35 mm against S. aureus and S. pyogens, respectively. However, only 100% and 75% ethanolic extract showed (ZI-19.18 mm, 16.29 mm) activity against C. albicans. Nevertheless, aqueous extract (100%) showed higher antifungal activity (ZI-16.97 mm). Ciprofloxacin and amphotericin B were used as a standard drugs in the present study.
The results demonstrated that L. coromandelica Houtt. Merrill. have antibacterial activity against S. pyogens, S. aureus and antifungal property against C. albicans. Our findings corroborate the ethnobotanical use of L. coromandelica in traditional medicine system (Ayurveda) of India.
PMCID: PMC3891178  PMID: 24459389
Agar well diffusion method; antibacterial; antifungal; ayurveda; Candida albicans; female reproductive tract infection; Lannea coromandelica; Staphylococcus aureus; Streptococcus pyogens
13.  Evaluation on the responses of succinate dehydrogenase, isocitrate dehydrogenase, malate dehydrogenase and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase to acid shock generated acid tolerance in Escherichia coli 
Escherichia coli have an optimum pH range of 6-7 for growth and survival that's why, called neutrophiles. The ΔpH across the cytoplasmic membrane is linked to cellular bioenergetics and metabolism of the body which is the major supplier of the proton motive force, so homeostasis of cellular pH is essential. When challenged by low pH, protons enter the cytoplasm; as a result, mechanisms are required to alleviate the effects of lowered cytoplasmic pH.
Materials and Methods:
The activities of Succinate dehydrogenase, isocitrate dehydrogenase, malate dehydrogenase and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase in acid shocked cells of E. coli DH5 α and E. coli W3110 subjected to pH 3, 4, and 5 by two types of acidification, like external (using 0.1 N HCl), external along with the monensin (1 μM) and cytoplasmic acidification using the sodium benzoate as an acid permeant (20 mM) which is coupled to the electron transport chain by the reducing power, as yet another system possessed by E. coli as an armor against harsh acidic environments.
Results showed that an exposure to acidic environment (pH 3, 4 and 5) for a short period of time increased the activities of these dehydrogenases in all types of acidification except cytoplasmic acidification, which shows that higher recycling of reducing power results in pumping out of protons from the cytoplasm through the electron transport chain complexes, thereby restoring the cytoplasmic pH of the bacteria in the range of 7.4-7.8.
Study indicates that acid shocked E. coli for a period of 2 h can survive for a sustained period.
PMCID: PMC3814565  PMID: 24223390
Acid tolerance; dehydrogenases; electron transport chain; external acidification; internal acidification and intracellular pH
14.  Chemical delivery systems and soft drugs: Retrometabolic approaches of drug design 
Inclusion of metabolic considerations in the drug design process leads to significant development in the field of chemical drug targeting and the design of safer drugs during past few years which is a part of an approach now designated as Retro metabolic drug design (RMDD). This approach represents systematic methodologies that integrate structure–activity and structure–metabolism relationships and are aimed to design safe, locally active compounds with an improved therapeutic index. It embraces two distinct methods, chemical delivery systems and a soft drug approach. Present review recapitulates an impression of RMDD giving reflections on the chemical delivery system and the soft drug approach and provides a variety of examples to embody its concepts. Successful application of such design principles has already been applied to a number of marketed drugs like esmolol; loteprednol etc., and many other candidates like beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, alkylating agents, antimicrobials etc., are also under investigation.
PMCID: PMC4142369  PMID: 25161372
Absorption; Distribution; Metabolism; Excretion; Retrometabolic drug design; Chemical delivery system; Soft drugs; Soft drug design; Angiotensin converting enzyme
15.  Leveraging Rapid Community-Based HIV Testing Campaigns for Non-Communicable Diseases in Rural Uganda 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e43400.
The high burden of undiagnosed HIV in sub-Saharan Africa limits treatment and prevention efforts. Community-based HIV testing campaigns can address this challenge and provide an untapped opportunity to identify non-communicable diseases (NCDs). We tested the feasibility and diagnostic yield of integrating NCD and communicable diseases into a rapid HIV testing and referral campaign for all residents of a rural Ugandan parish.
A five-day, multi-disease campaign, offering diagnostic, preventive, treatment and referral services, was performed in May 2011. Services included point-of-care screening for HIV, malaria, TB, hypertension and diabetes. Finger-prick diagnostics eliminated the need for phlebotomy. HIV-infected adults met clinic staff and peer counselors on-site; those with CD4≤100/µL underwent intensive counseling and rapid referral for antiretroviral therapy (ART). Community participation, case-finding yield, and linkage to care three months post-campaign were analyzed.
Of 6,300 residents, 2,323/3,150 (74%) adults and 2,020/3,150 (69%) children participated. An estimated 95% and 52% of adult female and male residents participated respectively. Adult HIV prevalence was 7.8%, with 46% of HIV-infected adults newly diagnosed. Thirty-nine percent of new HIV diagnoses linked to care. In a pilot subgroup with CD4≤100, 83% linked and started ART within 10 days. Malaria was identified in 10% of children, and hypertension and diabetes in 28% and 3.5% of adults screened, respectively. Sixty-five percent of hypertensives and 23% of diabetics were new diagnoses, of which 43% and 61% linked to care, respectively. Screening identified suspected TB in 87% of HIV-infected and 19% of HIV-uninfected adults; 52% percent of HIV-uninfected TB suspects linked to care.
In an integrated campaign engaging 74% of adult residents, we identified a high burden of undiagnosed HIV, hypertension and diabetes. Improving male attendance and optimizing linkage to care require new approaches. The campaign demonstrates the feasibility of integrating hypertension, diabetes and communicable diseases into HIV initiatives.
PMCID: PMC3423366  PMID: 22916256
16.  Use of Lasers for the Management of Refractory Cases of Hidradenitis Suppurativa and Pilonidal Sinus 
Hidradinitis suppurativa (HS) and pilonidal sinus (PNS) are chronic inflamatory skin diseases, often refractory to treatment and search for a new treatment is on. We tried deroofing with the help of carbon dioxide laser in patients of HS and PNS, however there was recurrence.
To evaluate a technique combining the use of CO2 laser and long pulse 1064 nm Neodymium-doped Yttrium Aluminium Garnet (Nd:YAG) laser for the treatment of HS and PNS.
Materials and Methods:
In 4 patients with HS and 5 patients with PNS, we performed procedure in two steps: first destroying the hair follicles with long pulse Nd yag 1064 laserfollowed by deroofing with carbon di oxide laser. Follow up was done upto 3 years.
All patients with HS were females in the age group of 30-40 years. In PNS, 2 male patients were of age less than 20, two male patients of age more than 20 and one females of age less than 20. None of the HS or PNS patients showed recurrence.
The deroofing with CO2 laser along with hair follicle removal with long pulse Nd:YAG laser is an effective minimally invasive tissue saving surgical intervention for the treatment of refractory HS and PNS lesions.
PMCID: PMC3483576  PMID: 23112515
Hidradenitis suppurativa; PNS-pilonidal sinus; Carbon dioxide laser; Long pulse Nd:YAG Laser
17.  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
18.  Blue cures blue but be cautious 
Methemoglobinemia is a disorder characterized by the presence of >1% methemoglobin (metHb) in the blood. Spontaneous formation of methemoglobin is normally counteracted by protective enzyme systems, for example, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) methemoglobin reductase. Methemoglobinemia is treated with supplemental oxygen and methylene blue (1–2 mg/kg) administered slow intravenously, which acts by providing an artificial electron acceptor for NADPH methemoglobin reductase. But known or suspected glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency is a relative contraindication to the use of methylene blue because G6PD is the key enzyme in the formation of NADPH through pentose phosphate pathway and G6PD-deficient individuals generate insufficient NADPH to efficiently reduce methylene blue to leukomethylene blue, which is necessary for the activation of the NADPH-dependent methemoglobin reductase system. So, we should be careful using methylene blue in methemoglobinemia patient before G6PD levels.
PMCID: PMC3249703  PMID: 22219589
G6PD deficiency; methemoglobinemia; methylene blue
19.  Strengthening TB surveillance system in India: Way forward for improving estimates of TB incidence 
One of the key indicators used under India’s TB control program is the DOTS case detection rate of new sputum smear positive TB whose estimates in India are based on incidence estimates derived from Styblo’s rule. Styblo’s rule was formulated in an era without well-established tuberculosis control program, effective tuberculosis drugs, and emergence of TB-HIV coinfection, so today it does not reflect the true incidence of TB. Considering various loopholes in different methods of measurement of incidence (prevalence surveys of disease/ infection, vital registration system and Styblo’s rule), strengthening of existing surveillance system is the best tool to obtain correct estimates of tuberculosis incidence in India.
PMCID: PMC3109834  PMID: 21712922
Indicator; Styblo’s rule; surveillance; tuberculosis
20.  Transmitted Drug Resistance in Persons with Acute/Early HIV-1 in San Francisco, 2002-2009 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(12):e15510.
Transmitted HIV-1 drug resistance (TDR) is an ongoing public health problem, representing 10–20% of new HIV infections in many geographic areas. TDR usually arises from two main sources: individuals on antiretroviral therapy (ART) who are failing to achieve virologic suppression, and individuals who acquired TDR and transmit it while still ART-naïve. TDR rates can be impacted when novel antiretroviral medications are introduced that allow for greater virologic suppression of source patients. Although several new HIV medications were introduced starting in late 2007, including raltegravir, maraviroc, and etravirine, it is not known whether the prevalence of TDR was subsequently affected in 2008–2009.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We performed population sequence genotyping on individuals who were diagnosed with acute or early HIV (<6 months duration) and who enrolled in the Options Project, a prospective cohort, between 2002 and 2009. We used logistic regression to compare the odds of acquiring drug-resistant HIV before versus after the arrival of new ART (2005–2007 vs. 2008–2009). From 2003–2007, TDR rose from 7% to 24%. Prevalence of TDR was then 15% in 2008 and in 2009. While the odds of acquiring TDR were lower in 2008–2009 compared to 2005–2007, this was not statistically significant (odds ratio 0.65, 95% CI 0.31–1.38; p = 0.27).
Our study suggests that transmitted drug resistance rose from 2003–2007, but this upward trend did not continue in 2008 and 2009. Nevertheless, the TDR prevalence in 2008–2009 remained substantial, emphasizing that improved management strategies for drug-resistant HIV are needed if TDR is to be further reduced. Continued surveillance for TDR will be important in understanding the full impact of new antiretroviral medications.
PMCID: PMC3000814  PMID: 21170322
21.  Plasma levels of retinoids, carotenoids and tocopherols in patients with mild obstructive sleep apnoea 
Respirology (Carlton, Vic.)  2009;14(8):1134-1142.
Background and objective
OSA is associated with increased incidence of cardiovascular diseases. Pathogenic mechanisms of vascular diseases include thickened vascular walls due to the increased number of smooth muscle cells (SMC). Retinoic acid (RA) suppresses the growth of SMC, and reduced retinoid levels are associated with vascular diseases. Oxidant signalling promotes SMC growth, thus antioxidant levels may also influence the development of cardiovascular diseases. The present study tested the hypothesis that plasmas from OSA patients contain altered levels of retinoids, carotenoids and tocopherols.
Plasma samples were taken before and after sleep from patients with OSA (mostly mild) without known cardiovascular diseases and from control subjects. Levels of retinoids, carotenoids and tocopherols were measured using sensitive gas chromatograph-mass spectrometry and high pressure liquid chromatography methods and total antioxidant capacity was assessed fluorometrically.
Results showed that plasmas from patients with OSA had significantly lower retinyl palmitate and 9-cis RA compared with control subjects, while levels of retinol, all-trans RA and 13-cis RA were indifferent. All-trans β-carotene and 9-cis β-carotene were also lower in OSA patients. Levels of all-trans RA and 13-cis RA in OSA patients were reduced after sleep compared with before sleep. OSA patients showed significantly higher δ-tocopherol compared with controls. Treatment of cultured human vascular SMC with post-sleep OSA patient plasmas promoted cell growth, but not in controls.
Mild OSA exhibits altered levels of specific retinoids, carotenoids and tocopherols, which may be markers and/or mediators for the increased susceptibility of patients to vascular diseases.
PMCID: PMC2804104  PMID: 19761534
antioxidant; carotenoid; retinoid; sleep apnoea; tocopherol
22.  When to Start Antiretroviral Therapy 
Current HIV/AIDS Reports  2010;7(2):60-68.
The question of when to start combination antiretroviral therapy for treatment-naïve patients has always been controversial. This is particularly true in the current era, with major guidelines recommending very different treatment strategies. Despite a lack of clarity regarding the optimal time to begin therapy, there has been a recent shift toward earlier initiation. This more aggressive approach is driven by several observations. First, effective viral suppression with therapy can prevent non-AIDS-related morbidity and mortality. Second, therapy can prevent irreversible harm to the human immune system. Third, therapy may prevent transmission of HIV to others, and thus have a potential public health benefit. For patients who are motivated and willing to initiate early treatment, the collective benefits of early therapy may outweigh the well-documented risks of antiretroviral medications.
PMCID: PMC2856854  PMID: 20425559
HIV; Antiretroviral therapy; Early treatment; “When to start”; Clinical trials; Observational studies; Non-AIDS conditions; “Test and treat”; Systemic inflammation; T cell activation
23.  Regulation of Bcl-xL Expression in Lung Vascular Smooth Muscle 
Pulmonary hypertension is characterized by thickened pulmonary arterial walls due to increased number of pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells (PASMC). Apoptosis of PASMC may play an important role in regulating the PASMC number and may be useful for reducing pulmonary vascular thickening. The present study examined the regulation of an anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-xL. Bcl-xL expression was found to be increased in the pulmonary artery of chronic hypoxia–treated rats with pulmonary vascular remodeling. Adenovirus-mediated gene transfer of Bcl-xL indeed showed that this protein has anti-apoptotic activities in PASMC. Treatment of remodeled pulmonary artery with sodium nitroprusside (SNP) reduced Bcl-xL expression by targeting the bcl-xL promoter. The bcl-xL promoter contains two GATA elements, and SNP decreases the GATA-4 DNA-binding activity. Overexpression of GATA-4 attenuated the SNP-mediated suppression of Bcl-xL expression, providing direct evidence for the role of GATA-4 in Bcl-xL gene transcription. We established that SNP targets the 250 proximal region of the gata4 promoter and suppresses its gene transcription. Thus, inducers of pulmonary hypertension enhance anti-apoptotic Bcl-xL gene transcription, which can be suppressed by targeting gata4 gene transcription.
PMCID: PMC1868666  PMID: 17272823
apoptosis; genes; pulmonary hypertension; smooth muscle
24.  Oxidative stress and oxidant signaling in obstructive sleep apnea and associated cardiovascular diseases 
Free radical biology & medicine  2006;40(10):1683-1692.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) has emerged as a major public health problem and increasing evidence indicates that untreated OSA can lead to the development of various cardiovascular disorders. One important mechanism by which OSA may promote cardiovascular diseases is intermittent hypoxia, in which patients are subjected to repeated episodes of brief oxygen desaturation in the blood, followed by reoxygenation. Such cycles of hypoxia/reoxygenation may result in the generation of reactive oxygen species. Some studies have demonstrated the presence of oxidative stress in OSA patients as well as in animals subjected to intermittent hypoxia. Further, modulations of nitric oxide and biothiol status might also play important roles in the pathogenesis of OSA-associated diseases. Reactive oxygen species and redox events are also involved in the regulation of signal transduction for oxygen-sensing mechanisms. This review summarizes currently available information on the evidence for and against the occurrence of oxidative stress in OSA and the role of reactive oxygen species in cardiovascular changes associated with OSA.
PMCID: PMC1995030  PMID: 16678006
Free radical; Intermittent hypoxia; Nitric oxide; Oxidative stress; Reactive oxygen species; Sleep apnea; Superoxide
25.  Regulation of Bcl-xL expression in lung vascular smooth muscle 
Pulmonary hypertension is characterized by thickened pulmonary arterial walls due to increased number of pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells (PASMC). Apoptosis of PASMC may play important roles in regulating the PASMC number and may be useful for reducing pulmonary vascular thickening. The present study examined the regulation of an anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-xL. Bcl-xL expression was found to be increased in the pulmonary artery of chronic hypoxia treated rats with pulmonary vascular remodeling. Adenovirus-mediated gene transfer of Bcl-xL indeed showed that this protein has anti-apoptotic activities in PASMC. Treatment of remodeled pulmonary artery with sodium nitroprusside (SNP) reduced Bcl-xL expression by targeting the bcl-xL promoter. The bcl-xL promoter contains two GATA elements, and SNP decreases the GATA-4 DNA binding activity. Overexpression of GATA-4 attenuated the SNP-mediated suppression of Bcl-xL expression, providing direct evidence for the role of GATA-4 in Bcl-xL gene transcription. We identified that SNP targets the 250 proximal region of the gata4 promoter and suppresses its gene transcription. Thus, inducers of pulmonary hypertension enhance anti-apoptotic Bcl-xL gene transcription, which can be suppressed by targeting the gata4 gene transcription.
PMCID: PMC1868666  PMID: 17272823
Apoptosis; Genes; Pulmonary hypertension; Smooth muscle

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