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author:("dallas, Esper")
1.  No Evidence of Sexual Risk Compensation in the iPrEx Trial of Daily Oral HIV Preexposure Prophylaxis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e81997.
Objective
Preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) with emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (FTC/TDF) reduced HIV acquisition in the iPrEx trial among men who have sex with men and transgender women. Self-reported sexual risk behavior decreased overall, but may be affected by reporting bias. We evaluated potential risk compensation using biomarkers of sexual risk behavior.
Design and methods
Sexual practices were assessed at baseline and quarterly thereafter; perceived treatment assignment and PrEP efficacy beliefs were assessed at 12 weeks. Among participants with ≥1 follow-up behavioral assessment, sexual behavior, syphilis, and HIV infection were compared by perceived treatment assignment, actual treatment assignment, and perceived PrEP efficacy.
Results
Overall, acute HIV infection and syphilis decreased during follow-up. Compared with participants believing they were receiving placebo, participants believing they were receiving FTC/TDF reported more receptive anal intercourse partners prior to initiating drug (12.8 vs. 7.7, P = 0.04). Belief in receiving FTC/TDF was not associated with an increase in receptive anal intercourse with no condom (ncRAI) from baseline through follow-up (risk ratio [RR] 0.9, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.6–1.4; P = 0.75), nor with a decrease after stopping study drug (RR 0.8, 95% CI: 0.5–1.3; P = 0.46). In the placebo arm, there were trends toward lower HIV incidence among participants believing they were receiving FTC/TDF (incidence rate ratio [IRR] 0.8, 95% CI: 0.4–1.8; P = 0.26) and also believing it was highly effective (IRR 0.5, 95% CI: 0.1–1.7; P = 0.12).
Conclusions
There was no evidence of sexual risk compensation in iPrEx. Participants believing they were receiving FTC/TDF had more partners prior to initiating drug, suggesting that risk behavior was not a consequence of PrEP use.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0081997
PMCID: PMC3867330  PMID: 24367497
2.  IVIg Immune Reconstitution Treatment Alleviates the State of Persistent Immune Activation and Suppressed CD4 T Cell Counts in CVID 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e75199.
Common variable immunodeficiency (CVID) is characterized by defective B cell function, impaired antibody production, and increased susceptibility to bacterial infections. Here, we addressed the hypothesis that poor antibody-mediated immune control of infections may result in substantial perturbations in the T cell compartment. Newly diagnosed CVID patients were sampled before, and 6–12 months after, initiation of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) therapy. Treatment-naïve CVID patients displayed suppressed CD4 T cell counts and myeloid dendritic cell (mDC) levels, as well as high levels of immune activation in CD8 T cells, CD4 T cells, and invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells. Expression of co-stimulatory receptors CD80 and CD83 was elevated in mDCs and correlated with T cell activation. Levels of both FoxP3+ T regulatory (Treg) cells and iNKT cells were low, whereas soluble CD14 (sCD14), indicative of monocyte activation, was elevated. Importantly, immune reconstitution treatment with IVIg partially restored the CD4 T cell and mDC compartments. Treatment furthermore reduced the levels of CD8 T cell activation and mDC activation, whereas levels of Treg cells and iNKT cells remained low. Thus, primary deficiency in humoral immunity with impaired control of microbial infections is associated with significant pathological changes in cell-mediated immunity. Furthermore, therapeutic enhancement of humoral immunity with IVIg infusions alleviates several of these defects, indicating a relationship between poor antibody-mediated immune control of infections and the occurrence of abnormalities in the T cell and mDC compartments. These findings help our understanding of the immunopathogenesis of primary immunodeficiency, as well as acquired immunodeficiency caused by HIV-1 infection.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0075199
PMCID: PMC3793979  PMID: 24130688
4.  Inter- and Intra-Host Viral Diversity in a Large Seasonal DENV2 Outbreak 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e70318.
Background
High genetic diversity at both inter- and intra-host level are hallmarks of RNA viruses due to the error-prone nature of their genome replication. Several groups have evaluated the extent of viral variability using different RNA virus deep sequencing methods. Although much of this effort has been dedicated to pathogens that cause chronic infections in humans, few studies investigated arthropod-borne, acute viral infections.
Methods and Principal Findings
We deep sequenced the complete genome of ten DENV2 isolates from representative classical and severe cases sampled in a large outbreak in Brazil using two different approaches. Analysis of the consensus genomes confirmed the larger extent of the 2010 epidemic in comparison to a previous epidemic caused by the same viruses in another city two years before (genetic distance = 0.002 and 0.0008 respectively). Analysis of viral populations within the host revealed a high level of conservation. After excluding homopolymer regions of 454/Roche generated sequences, we found 10 to 44 variable sites per genome population at a frequency of >1%, resulting in very low intra-host genetic diversity. While up to 60% of all variable sites at intra-host level were non-synonymous changes, only 10% of inter-host variability resulted from non-synonymous mutations, indicative of purifying selection at the population level.
Conclusions and Significance
Despite the error-prone nature of RNA-dependent RNA-polymerase, dengue viruses maintain low levels of intra-host variability.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0070318
PMCID: PMC3732279  PMID: 23936406
5.  Nonhuman primate models and the failure of the Merck HIV-1 vaccine in humans 
Nature medicine  2008;14(6):617-621.
The recent announcement that a replication defective adenovirus-type 5 Gag-Pol-Nef HIV-1 vaccine developed by Merck failed in the STEP human Phase IIb efficacy trial to either prevent HIV-1 infection or to suppress viral load in subjects who subsequently became infected, was predicted by studies that had evaluated analogous vaccines in the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) challenge/rhesus macaque model. In contrast, vaccine protection studies in macaques that used a chimeric simian-human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV89.6P) challenge failed to predict the human trial results. Adenovirus-vector based vaccines did not protect animals from infection after SHIV89.6P challenge but did cause a substantial reduction in viral load and a preservation of CD4+ T-cell counts post-infection, findings that were not reproduced in the human trials. While disappointing for the clinical development of Merck’s vaccine candidate, these studies now enable vaccine designers to utilize the SIV-challenged macaque model with more confidence, thus facilitating the future prioritization of candidate vaccines. Vaccine designers must now develop T-cell vaccine strategies that reduce viral load after heterologous challenge.
doi:10.1038/nm.f.1759
PMCID: PMC3697853  PMID: 18535579
6.  Microbial Translocation Is Associated with Extensive Immune Activation in Dengue Virus Infected Patients with Severe Disease 
Background
Severe dengue virus (DENV) disease is associated with extensive immune activation, characterized by a cytokine storm. Previously, elevated lipopolysaccharide (LPS) levels in dengue were found to correlate with clinical disease severity. In the present cross-sectional study we identified markers of microbial translocation and immune activation, which are associated with severe manifestations of DENV infection.
Methods
Serum samples from DENV-infected patients were collected during the outbreak in 2010 in the State of São Paulo, Brazil. Levels of LPS, lipopolysaccharide binding protein (LBP), soluble CD14 (sCD14) and IgM and IgG endotoxin core antibodies were determined by ELISA. Thirty cytokines were quantified using a multiplex luminex system. Patients were classified according to the 2009 WHO classification and the occurrence of plasma leakage/shock and hemorrhage. Moreover, a (non-supervised) cluster analysis based on the expression of the quantified cytokines was applied to identify groups of patients with similar cytokine profiles. Markers of microbial translocation were linked to groups with similar clinical disease severity and clusters with similar cytokine profiles.
Results
Cluster analysis indicated that LPS levels were significantly increased in patients with a profound pro-inflammatory cytokine profile. LBP and sCD14 showed significantly increased levels in patients with severe disease in the clinical classification and in patients with severe inflammation in the cluster analysis. With both the clinical classification and the cluster analysis, levels of IL-6, IL-8, sIL-2R, MCP-1, RANTES, HGF, G-CSF and EGF were associated with severe disease.
Conclusions
The present study provides evidence that both microbial translocation and extensive immune activation occur during severe DENV infection and may play an important role in the pathogenesis.
Author Summary
The pathogenesis of severe dengue virus (DENV) infection is still not fully understood. It is hypothesized that it is caused by a cytokine storm as is described in severe sepsis. In the sepsis field, the potent immunostimulator lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is proposed to play an important role in the development of a cytokine storm. In a previous study we have found elevated levels of LPS in children with severe DENV infection. In this study we have investigated if we could confirm that microbial translocation occurs in DENV-infected patients. Moreover, we have determined the levels of thirty cytokines to get more insight in the cytokine storm during DENV infections and we have investigated whether microbial translocation is associated with immune activation. The patients in this cohort were classified according to their clinical presentation. Furthermore, a cluster analysis based on the expression of the determined cytokines was applied to identify patients with similar cytokine profiles. With these two techniques, we identified cytokines that may contribute significantly to the cytokine storm, and we could relate elevated levels of LPS to patients with a pro-inflammatory cytokine profile.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0002236
PMCID: PMC3662706  PMID: 23717702
7.  Variability of HIV-1 Genomes among Children and Adolescents from São Paulo, Brazil 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e62552.
Background
Genetic variability is a major feature of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and considered the key factor to frustrating efforts to halt the virus epidemic. In this study, we aimed to investigate the genetic variability of HIV-1 strains among children and adolescents born from 1992 to 2009 in the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Methodology
Plasma and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) were collected from 51 HIV-1-positive children and adolescents on ART followed between September 1992 and July 2009. After extraction, the genetic materials were used in a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to amplify the viral near full length genomes (NFLGs) from 5 overlapped fragments. NFLGs and partial amplicons were directly sequenced and data were phylogenetically inferred.
Results
Of the 51 samples studied, the NFLGs and partial fragments of HIV-1 from 42 PBMCs and 25 plasma were successfully subtyped. Results based on proviral DNA revealed that 22 (52.4%) patients were infected with subtype B, 16 (38.1%) were infected with BF1 mosaic variants and 4 (9.5%) were infected with sub-subtype F1. All the BF1 recombinants were unique and distinct from any previously identified unique or circulating recombinant forms in South America. Evidence of dual infections was detected in 3 patients coinfected with the same or distinct HIV-1 subtypes. Ten of the 31 (32.2%) and 12 of the 21 (57.1%) subjects with recovered proviral and plasma, respectively, protease sequences were infected with major mutants resistant to protease inhibitors. The V3 sequences of 14 patients with available sequences from PBMC/or plasma were predicted to be R5-tropic virus except for two patients who harbored an X4 strain.
Conclusions
The high proportion of HIV-1 BF1 recombinant, coinfection rate and vertical transmission in Brazil merits urgent attention and effective measures to reduce the transmission of HIV among spouses and sex partners.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0062552
PMCID: PMC3646872  PMID: 23667488
9.  CD57 Expression and Cytokine Production by T Cells in Lesional and Unaffected Skin from Patients with Psoriasis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e52144.
Background
The immunopathogenic mechanisms leading to psoriasis remain unresolved. CD57 is a marker of replicative inability and immunosenescence on CD8+ T cells and the proportion of CD57 expressing CD8+ T cells is increased in a number of inflammatory conditions.
Methodology
We examined the expression of CD57 on T cells in the skin of patients affected with psoriasis, comparing lesional and unaffected skin. We also assessed functionality of the T cells by evaluating the secretion of several inflammatory cytokines (IL-17A, IFN-gamma, IL-2, IL-33, TNF-alpha, IL-21, IL-22, and IL-27), from cell-sorted purified CD4+ and CD8+ T cells isolated from lesional and unaffected skin biopsies of psoriasis patients.
Principal Findings
We observed that the frequency of CD57+CD4+ and CD57+CD8+ T cells was significantly higher in unaffected skin of psoriasis patients compared to lesional skin. Sorted CD4+ T cells from psoriatic lesional skin produced higher levels of IL-17A, IL-22, and IFN-gamma compared to unaffected skin, while sorted CD8+ T cells from lesional skin produced higher levels of IL-17, IL-22, IFN-gamma, TNF-alpha, and IL-2 compared to unaffected skin.
Conclusions/Significance
These findings suggest that T cells in unaffected skin from psoriasis patients exhibit a phenotype compatible with replicative inability. As they have a lower replicative capacity, CD57+ T cells are less frequent in lesional tissue due to the high cellular turnover.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0052144
PMCID: PMC3585296  PMID: 23468834
10.  Expansion in CD39+ CD4+ Immunoregulatory T Cells and Rarity of Th17 Cells in HTLV-1 Infected Patients Is Associated with Neurological Complications 
HTLV-1 infection is associated with several inflammatory disorders, including the neurodegenerative condition HTLV-1-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP). It is unclear why a minority of infected subjects develops HAM/TSP. CD4+ T cells are the main target of infection and play a pivotal role in regulating immunity to HTLV and are hypothesized to participate in the pathogenesis of HAM/TSP. The CD39 ectonucleotidase receptor is expressed on CD4+ T cells and based on co-expression with CD25, marks T cells with distinct regulatory (CD39+CD25+) and effector (CD39+CD25−) function. Here, we investigated the expression of CD39 on CD4+ T cells from a cohort of HAM/TSP patients, HTLV-1 asymptomatic carriers (AC), and matched uninfected controls. The frequency of CD39+ CD4+ T cells was increased in HTLV-1 infected patients, regardless of clinical status. More importantly, the proportion of the immunostimulatory CD39+CD25− CD4+ T-cell subset was significantly elevated in HAM/TSP patients as compared to AC and phenotypically had lower levels of the immunoinhibitory receptor, PD-1. We saw no difference in the frequency of CD39+CD25+ regulatory (Treg) cells between AC and HAM/TSP patients. However, these cells transition from being anergic to displaying a polyfunctional cytokine response following HTLV-1 infection. CD39−CD25+ T cell subsets predominantly secreted the inflammatory cytokine IL-17. We found that HAM/TSP patients had significantly fewer numbers of IL-17 secreting CD4+ T cells compared to uninfected controls. Taken together, we show that the expression of CD39 is upregulated on CD4+ T cells HAM/TSP patients. This upregulation may play a role in the development of the proinflammatory milieu through pathways both distinct and separate among the different CD39 T cell subsets. CD39 upregulation may therefore serve as a surrogate diagnostic marker of progression and could potentially be a target for interventions to reduce the development of HAM/TSP.
Author Summary
Human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) has been estimated to infect 10–20 million worldwide. The majority of infected individuals are asymptomatic, however, 2% to 3% develop a neurodegenerative disorder called HTLV-1-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP). The reasons why persons with HTLV-1 develop these complications appear to be multiple and complex. Cellular immune response has been implicated in the development of inflammatory alterations in these patients, however the pathogenic mechanisms for disease progression remain unclear. Regulatory CD4+ T cells (Treg) and Th17 cells derive from a common progenitor and conflicting results regarding frequency and function are found in the development of HAM/TSP. The expression of the CD39 ectoenzyme, a molecule that can mediate immunostimulatory and inhibitory effects, is useful to define IL-17 secreting cell populations, suppressive CD4+ T cells and CD4+ T cells with immunostimulatory properties. The interplay of these T-cell subsets may reveal important aspects of HAM/TSP pathogenesis. In this study, we performed an evaluation of the immunoregulatory CD4+ T-cell subsets defined by CD39 expression including Th17 cells. Our results present phenotypic and functional alterations in the CD4+ T cell profile that could account for the transition from asymptomatic status to HAM/TSP, predicting clinical disease risk and tracking disease progression.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0002028
PMCID: PMC3566991  PMID: 23409198
11.  Human Endogenous Retrovirus K(HML-2) Gag and Env specific T-cell responses are not detected in HTLV-I-infected subjects using standard peptide screening methods 
Background
An estimated 10–20 million individuals are infected with the retrovirus human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1). While the majority of these individuals remain asymptomatic, 0.3-4% develop a neurodegenerative inflammatory disease, termed HTLV-1-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP). HAM/TSP results in the progressive demyelination of the central nervous system and is a differential diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS). The etiology of HAM/TSP is unclear, but evidence points to a role for CNS-inflitrating T-cells in pathogenesis. Recently, the HTLV-1-Tax protein has been shown to induce transcription of the human endogenous retrovirus (HERV) families W, H and K. Intriguingly, numerous studies have implicated these same HERV families in MS, though this association remains controversial.
Results
Here, we explore the hypothesis that HTLV-1-infection results in the induction of HERV antigen expression and the elicitation of HERV-specific T-cells responses which, in turn, may be reactive against neurons and other tissues. PBMC from 15 HTLV-1-infected subjects, 5 of whom presented with HAM/TSP, were comprehensively screened for T-cell responses to overlapping peptides spanning HERV-K(HML-2) Gag and Env. In addition, we screened for responses to peptides derived from diverse HERV families, selected based on predicted binding to predicted optimal epitopes. We observed a lack of responses to each of these peptide sets.
Conclusions
Thus, although the limited scope of our screening prevents us from conclusively disproving our hypothesis, the current study does not provide data supporting a role for HERV-specific T-cell responses in HTLV-1 associated immunopathology.
doi:10.1186/1477-5751-12-3
PMCID: PMC3560086  PMID: 23305161
HTLV-I; Human endogenous retrovirus; T-cells; HTLV-1-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis
12.  Lack of evidence to support the association of a single IL28B genotype SNP rs12979860 with the HTLV-1 clinical outcomes and proviral load 
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
13.  Cytokine Expression Profile of Dengue Patients at Different Phases of Illness 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e52215.
Background
Dengue is an important medical problem, with symptoms ranging from mild dengue fever to severe forms of the disease, where vascular leakage leads to hypovolemic shock. Cytokines have been implicated to play a role in the progression of severe dengue disease; however, their profile in dengue patients and the synergy that leads to continued plasma leakage is not clearly understood. Herein, we investigated the cytokine kinetics and profiles of dengue patients at different phases of illness to further understand the role of cytokines in dengue disease.
Methods and Findings
Circulating levels of 29 different types of cytokines were assessed by bead-based ELISA method in dengue patients at the 3 different phases of illness. The association between significant changes in the levels of cytokines and clinical parameters were analyzed. At the febrile phase, IP-10 was significant in dengue patients with and without warning signs. However, MIP-1β was found to be significant in only patients with warning signs at this phase. IP-10 was also significant in both with and without warning signs patients during defervescence. At this phase, MIP-1β and G-CSF were significant in patients without warning signs, whereas MCP-1 was noted to be elevated significantly in patients with warning signs. Significant correlations between the levels of VEGF, RANTES, IL-7, IL-12, PDGF and IL-5 with platelets; VEGF with lymphocytes and neutrophils; G-CSF and IP-10 with atypical lymphocytes and various other cytokines with the liver enzymes were observed in this study.
Conclusions
The cytokine profile patterns discovered between the different phases of illness indicate an essential role in dengue pathogenesis and with further studies may serve as predictive markers for progression to dengue with warning signs.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0052215
PMCID: PMC3527385  PMID: 23284941
14.  Intra-Host Diversity and Emergence of Unique GBV-C Viral Lineages in HIV Infected Subjects in Central China 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e48417.
GB virus C (GBV-C), which is highly prevalent among HIV/AIDS, seemed to slow the HIV disease progression. The HIV/GBV-C co-infected individuals may represent an interesting model for the investigation of the role played by HIV infection and/or the immune system in driving the evolution of the GBV-C viral populations. The present study investigated the prevalence and population dynamics of GB virus C in HIV infected individuals representing 13 geographic regions of Hubei Province of China. Approximately 37% of HIV-1 infected individuals were infected with GBV-C and genotype 3 is appeared to be predominant. Utilizing the 196 complete E2 nucleotide sequence data from 10 HIV/GBV-C infected individuals and employing coalescence based phylogenetic approaches; the present study has investigated the intra-host dynamics of GBV-C. The results revealed patient-specific unique GBV-C viral lineages and each viral lineage showed the evidence of rapid population expansion in respective HIV-1 infected patients, thus suggesting HIV-1 was unlikely to have been inhibiting effect on the GBV-C viral replication. GBV-C in all patients has experienced intense purifying selection, suggesting the GBV-C viral invasion and subsequent expansion within the HIV-1 infected hosts without any modification of the functional epitopes at their membrane protein. The finding of within host GBV-C recombinant sequences indicated recombination was one of the significant forces in the evolution and divergence of GBV-C.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0048417
PMCID: PMC3495943  PMID: 23152773
15.  Frequency of subtype B and F1 dual infection in HIV-1 positive, Brazilian men who have sex with men 
Virology Journal  2012;9:223.
Background
Because various HIV vaccination studies are in progress, it is important to understand how often inter- and intra-subtype co/superinfection occurs in different HIV-infected high-risk groups. This knowledge would aid in the development of future prevention programs. In this cross-sectional study, we report the frequency of subtype B and F1 co-infection in a clinical group of 41 recently HIV-1 infected men who have sex with men (MSM) in São Paulo, Brazil.
Methodology
Proviral HIV-1 DNA was isolated from subject's peripheral blood polymorphonuclear leukocytes that were obtained at the time of enrollment. Each subject was known to be infected with a subtype B virus as determined in a previous study. A small fragment of the integrase gene (nucleotide 4255–4478 of HXB2) was amplified by nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using subclade F1 specific primers. The PCR results were further confirmed by phylogenetic analysis. Viral load (VL) data were extrapolated from the medical records of each patient.
Results
For the 41 samples from MSM who were recently infected with subtype B virus, it was possible to detect subclade F1 proviral DNA in five patients, which represents a co-infection rate of 12.2%. In subjects with dual infection, the median VL was 5.3 × 104 copies/ML, whereas in MSM that were infected with only subtype B virus the median VL was 3.8 × 104 copies/ML (p > 0.8).
Conclusions
This study indicated that subtype B and F1 co-infection occurs frequently within the HIV-positive MSM population as suggested by large number of BF1 recombinant viruses reported in Brazil. This finding will help us track the epidemic and provide support for the development of immunization strategies against the HIV.
doi:10.1186/1743-422X-9-223
PMCID: PMC3499372  PMID: 23021203
16.  Age-Related Expansion of Tim-3 Expressing T Cells in Vertically HIV-1 Infected Children 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e45733.
As perinatally HIV-1-infected children grow into adolescents and young adults, they are increasingly burdened with the long-term consequences of chronic HIV-1 infection, with long-term morbidity due to inadequate immunity. In progressive HIV-1 infection in horizontally infected adults, inflammation, T cell activation, and perturbed T cell differentiation lead to an “immune exhaustion”, with decline in T cell effector functions. T effector cells develop an increased expression of CD57 and loss of CD28, with an increase in co-inhibitory receptors such as PD-1 and Tim-3. Very little is known about HIV-1 induced T cell dysfunction in vertical infection. In two perinatally antiretroviral drug treated HIV-1-infected groups with median ages of 11.2 yr and 18.5 yr, matched for viral load, we found no difference in the proportion of senescent CD28−CD57+CD8+ T cells between the groups. However, the frequency of Tim-3+CD8+ and Tim-3+CD4+ exhausted T cells, but not PD-1+ T cells, was significantly increased in the adolescents with longer duration of infection compared to the children with shorter duration of HIV-1 infection. PD-1+CD8+ T cells were directly associated with T cell immune activation in children. The frequency of Tim-3+CD8+ T cells positively correlated with HIV-1 plasma viral load in the adolescents but not in the children. These data suggest that Tim-3 upregulation was driven by both HIV-1 viral replication and increased age, whereas PD-1 expression is associated with immune activation. These findings also suggest that the Tim-3 immune exhaustion phenotype rather than PD-1 or senescent cells plays an important role in age-related T cell dysfunction in perinatal HIV-1 infection. Targeting Tim-3 may serve as a novel therapeutic approach to improve immune control of virus replication and mitigate age related T cell exhaustion.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0045733
PMCID: PMC3454343  PMID: 23029209
17.  MRKAd5 HIV-1 Gag/Pol/Nef Vaccine-Induced T-Cell Responses Inadequately Predict Distance of Breakthrough HIV-1 Sequences to the Vaccine or Viral Load 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e43396.
Background
The sieve analysis for the Step trial found evidence that breakthrough HIV-1 sequences for MRKAd5/HIV-1 Gag/Pol/Nef vaccine recipients were more divergent from the vaccine insert than placebo sequences in regions with predicted epitopes. We linked the viral sequence data with immune response and acute viral load data to explore mechanisms for and consequences of the observed sieve effect.
Methods
Ninety-one male participants (37 placebo and 54 vaccine recipients) were included; viral sequences were obtained at the time of HIV-1 diagnosis. T-cell responses were measured 4 weeks post-second vaccination and at the first or second week post-diagnosis. Acute viral load was obtained at RNA-positive and antibody-negative visits.
Findings
Vaccine recipients had a greater magnitude of post-infection CD8+ T cell response than placebo recipients (median 1.68% vs 1.18%; p = 0·04) and greater breadth of post-infection response (median 4.5 vs 2; p = 0·06). Viral sequences for vaccine recipients were marginally more divergent from the insert than placebo sequences in regions of Nef targeted by pre-infection immune responses (p = 0·04; Pol p = 0·13; Gag p = 0·89). Magnitude and breadth of pre-infection responses did not correlate with distance of the viral sequence to the insert (p>0·50). Acute log viral load trended lower in vaccine versus placebo recipients (estimated mean 4·7 vs 5·1) but the difference was not significant (p = 0·27). Neither was acute viral load associated with distance of the viral sequence to the insert (p>0·30).
Interpretation
Despite evidence of anamnestic responses, the sieve effect was not well explained by available measures of T-cell immunogenicity. Sequence divergence from the vaccine was not significantly associated with acute viral load. While point estimates suggested weak vaccine suppression of viral load, the result was not significant and more viral load data would be needed to detect suppression.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0043396
PMCID: PMC3428369  PMID: 22952672
18.  Influence of HAART on Alternative Reading Frame Immune Responses over the Course of HIV-1 Infection 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e39311.
Background
Translational errors can result in bypassing of the main viral protein reading frames and the production of alternate reading frame (ARF) or cryptic peptides. Within HIV, there are many such ARFs in both sense and the antisense directions of transcription. These ARFs have the potential to generate immunogenic peptides called cryptic epitopes (CE). Both antiretroviral drug therapy and the immune system exert a mutational pressure on HIV-1. Immune pressure exerted by ARF CD8+ T cells on the virus has already been observed in vitro. HAART has also been described to select HIV-1 variants for drug escape mutations. Since the mutational pressure exerted on one location of the HIV-1 genome can potentially affect the 3 reading frames, we hypothesized that ARF responses would be affected by this drug pressure in vivo.
Methodology/Principal findings
In this study we identified new ARFs derived from sense and antisense transcription of HIV-1. Many of these ARFs are detectable in circulating viral proteins. They are predominantly found in the HIV-1 env nucleotide region. We measured T cell responses to 199 HIV-1 CE encoded within 13 sense and 34 antisense HIV-1 ARFs. We were able to observe that these ARF responses are more frequent and of greater magnitude in chronically infected individuals compared to acutely infected patients, and in patients on HAART, the breadth of ARF responses increased.
Conclusions/Significance
These results have implications for vaccine design and unveil the existence of potential new epitopes that could be included as vaccine targets.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0039311
PMCID: PMC3387156  PMID: 22768072
19.  Low-Cost Ultra-Wide Genotyping Using Roche/454 Pyrosequencing for Surveillance of HIV Drug Resistance 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e36494.
Background
Great efforts have been made to increase accessibility of HIV antiretroviral therapy (ART) in low and middle-income countries. The threat of wide-scale emergence of drug resistance could severely hamper ART scale-up efforts. Population-based surveillance of transmitted HIV drug resistance ensures the use of appropriate first-line regimens to maximize efficacy of ART programs where drug options are limited. However, traditional HIV genotyping is extremely expensive, providing a cost barrier to wide-scale and frequent HIV drug resistance surveillance.
Methods/Results
We have developed a low-cost laboratory-scale next-generation sequencing-based genotyping method to monitor drug resistance. We designed primers specifically to amplify protease and reverse transcriptase from Brazilian HIV subtypes and developed a multiplexing scheme using multiplex identifier tags to minimize cost while providing more robust data than traditional genotyping techniques. Using this approach, we characterized drug resistance from plasma in 81 HIV infected individuals collected in São Paulo, Brazil. We describe the complexities of analyzing next-generation sequencing data and present a simplified open-source workflow to analyze drug resistance data. From this data, we identified drug resistance mutations in 20% of treatment naïve individuals in our cohort, which is similar to frequencies identified using traditional genotyping in Brazilian patient samples.
Conclusion
The developed ultra-wide sequencing approach described here allows multiplexing of at least 48 patient samples per sequencing run, 4 times more than the current genotyping method. This method is also 4-fold more sensitive (5% minimal detection frequency vs. 20%) at a cost 3–5× less than the traditional Sanger-based genotyping method. Lastly, by using a benchtop next-generation sequencer (Roche/454 GS Junior), this approach can be more easily implemented in low-resource settings. This data provides proof-of-concept that next-generation HIV drug resistance genotyping is a feasible and low-cost alternative to current genotyping methods and may be particularly beneficial for in-country surveillance of transmitted drug resistance.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0036494
PMCID: PMC3344889  PMID: 22574170
20.  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.
doi:10.1093/infdis/jiq167
PMCID: PMC3107558  PMID: 21451005
22.  Faster HIV-1 Disease Progression among Brazilian Individuals Recently Infected with CXCR4-Utilizing Strains 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(1):e30292.
Introduction
Primary HIV infection is usually caused by R5 viruses, and there is an association between the emergence of CCXR4-utilizing strains and faster disease progression. We characterized HIV-1 from a cohort of recently infected individuals in Brazil, predicted the virus's co-receptor use based on the env genotype and attempted to correlate virus profiles with disease progression.
Methods
A total of 72 recently infected HIV patients were recruited based on the Serologic Testing Algorithm for Recent HIV Seroconversion and were followed every three to four months for up to 78 weeks. The HIV-1 V3 region was characterized by sequencing nine to twelve weeks after enrollment. Disease progression was characterized by CD4+ T-cell count decline to levels consistently below 350 cells/µL.
Results
Twelve out of 72 individuals (17%) were predicted to harbor CXCR4-utilizing strains; a baseline CD4<350 was more frequent among these individuals (p = 0.03). Fifty-seven individuals that were predicted to have CCR5-utilizing viruses and 10 individuals having CXCR4-utilizing strains presented with baseline CD4>350; after 78 weeks, 33 individuals with CCR5 strains and one individual with CXCR4 strains had CD4>350 (p = 0.001). There was no association between CD4 decline and demographic characteristics or HIV-1 subtype.
Conclusions
Our findings confirm the presence of strains with higher in vitro pathogenicity during early HIV infection, suggesting that even among recently infected individuals, rapid progression may be a consequence of the early emergence of CXCR4-utilizing strains. Characterizing the HIV-1 V3 region by sequencing may be useful in predicting disease progression and guiding treatment initiation decisions.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0030292
PMCID: PMC3266896  PMID: 22291931
23.  Characterization of an Isotype-Dependent Monoclonal Antibody against Linear Neutralizing Epitope Effective for Prophylaxis of Enterovirus 71 Infection 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(1):e29751.
Background
Enterovirus 71 (EV71) is the main causative agent of Hand, Foot and Mouth disease (HFMD) and is associated with severe neurologic complications and mortalities. At present, there is no vaccine or therapeutic available for treatment.
Methodology/Principal Finding
In this study, we generated two mAbs, denoted as mAb 51 and 53, both targeting the same linear epitope on VP1 capsid protein, spanning amino acids 215–219. In comparison, mAb 51 belonging to isotype IgM possesses neutralizing activity in vitro, whereas, mAb 53 belonging to isotype IgG1 does not have any neutralizing ability, even towards its homologous strain. When mAb 51 at 10 µg/g of body weight was administered to the 2-week-old AG129 mice one day prior to lethal challenge, 100% in vivo passive protection was observed. In contrast, the isotype control group mice, injected with an irrelevant IgM antibody before the challenge, developed limb paralysis as early as day 6 post-infection. Histological examination demonstrated that mAb 51 was able to protect against pathologic changes such as neuropil vacuolation and neuronal loss in the spinal cord, which were typical in unprotected EV-71 infected mice. BLAST analyses of that epitope revealed that it was highly conserved among all EV71 strains, but not coxsachievirus 16 (CA16).
Conclusion
We have defined a linear epitope within the VP1 protein and demonstrated its neutralizing ability to be isotype dependent. The neutralizing property and highly conserved sequence potentiated the application of mAb 51 and 53 for protection against EV71 infection and diagnosis respectively.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0029751
PMCID: PMC3261156  PMID: 22279543
24.  BED Estimates of HIV Incidence: Resolving the Differences, Making Things Simpler 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(1):e29736.
Objective
Develop a simple method for optimal estimation of HIV incidence using the BED capture enzyme immunoassay.
Design
Use existing BED data to estimate mean recency duration, false recency rates and HIV incidence with reference to a fixed time period, T.
Methods
Compare BED and cohort estimates of incidence referring to identical time frames. Generalize this approach to suggest a method for estimating HIV incidence from any cross-sectional survey.
Results
Follow-up and BED analyses of the same, initially HIV negative, cases followed over the same set time period T, produce estimates of the same HIV incidence, permitting the estimation of the BED mean recency period for cases who have been HIV positive for less than T. Follow-up of HIV positive cases over T, similarly, provides estimates of the false-recent rate appropriate for T. Knowledge of these two parameters for a given population allows the estimation of HIV incidence during T by applying the BED method to samples from cross-sectional surveys. An algorithm is derived for providing these estimates, adjusted for the false-recent rate. The resulting estimator is identical to one derived independently using a more formal mathematical analysis. Adjustments improve the accuracy of HIV incidence estimates. Negative incidence estimates result from the use of inappropriate estimates of the false-recent rate and/or from sampling error, not from any error in the adjustment procedure.
Conclusions
Referring all estimates of mean recency periods, false-recent rates and incidence estimates to a fixed period T simplifies estimation procedures and allows the development of a consistent method for producing adjusted estimates of HIV incidence of improved accuracy. Unadjusted BED estimates of incidence, based on life-time recency periods, would be both extremely difficult to produce and of doubtful value.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0029736
PMCID: PMC3250478  PMID: 22235334
25.  Safety and Reactogenicity of Canarypox ALVAC-HIV (vCP1521) and HIV-1 gp120 AIDSVAX B/E Vaccination in an Efficacy Trial in Thailand 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(12):e27837.
Background
A prime-boost vaccination regimen with ALVAC-HIV (vCP1521) administered intramuscularly at 0, 4, 12, and 24 weeks and gp120 AIDSVAX B/E at 12 and 24 weeks demonstrated modest efficacy of 31.2% for prevention of HIV acquisition in HIV-uninfected adults participating in a community-based efficacy trial in Thailand.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Reactogenicity was recorded for 3 days following vaccination. Adverse events were monitored every 6 months for 3.5 years, during which pregnancy outcomes were recorded. Of the 16,402 volunteers, 69% of the participants reported an adverse event any time after the first dose. Only 32.9% experienced an AE within 30 days following any vaccination. Overall adverse event rates and attribution of relatedness did not differ between groups. The frequency of serious adverse events was similar in vaccine (14.3%) and placebo (14.9%) recipients (p = 0.33). None of the 160 deaths (85 in vaccine and 75 in placebo recipients, p = 0.43) was assessed as related to vaccine. The most common cause of death was trauma or traffic accident. Approximately 30% of female participants reported a pregnancy during the study. Abnormal pregnancy outcomes were experienced in 17.1% of vaccine and 14.6% (p = 0.13) of placebo recipients. When the conception occurred within 3 months (estimated) of a vaccination, the majority of these abnormal outcomes were spontaneous or elective abortions among 22.2% and 15.3% of vaccine and placebo pregnant recipients, respectively (p = 0.08). Local reactions occurred in 88.0% of vaccine and 61.0% of placebo recipients (p<0.001) and were more frequent after ALVAC-HIV than AIDSVAX B/E vaccination. Systemic reactions were more frequent in vaccine than placebo recipients (77.2% vs. 59.8%, p<0.001). Local and systemic reactions were mostly mild to moderate, resolving within 3 days.
Conclusions/Significance
The ALVAC-HIV and AIDSVAX B/E vaccine regimen was found to be safe, well tolerated and suitable for potential large-scale use in Thailand.
Trial Registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00223080
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0027837
PMCID: PMC3244387  PMID: 22205930

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