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1.  Immunologic and Virologic Progression in HIV Controllers: The Role of Viral “Blips” and Immune Activation in the ANRS CO21 CODEX Study 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(7):e0131922.
Some HIV controllers (HICs) experience CD4+T cell count loss and/or lose their ability to control HIV. In this study, we investigated the rate of immunologic and/or virologic progression (ImmP/VirP) and its determinants in the ANRS CO21/CODEX cohort. Immunologic progression was defined as a lasting fall in CD4+T cell count below 350/mm3 or more than 200/mm3 with a baseline count below 600/mm3. Virologic progression was defined as a HIV viral load (VL) above 2000 copies/mL on two consecutive determinations. Clinical characteristics, immune activation, ultrasensitive HIV VL and total HIV DNA were analyzed. Disease progression was observed in 15 of the 217 patients followed up between 2009 and 2013 (ImmP, n = 10; VirP, n = 5). Progressors had higher ultrasensitive HIV RNA levels at inclusion (i.e. 1-2 years before progression) than non-progressors. ImmP had also lower CD4+T cell nadir and CD4+T cell count at inclusion, and VirP had higher HIV DNA levels in blood. T cell activation and IP10 levels at inclusion were significantly higher in ImmP than in non-progressors. In summary, the lasting loss of CD4+T cells, residual HIV replication and basal levels of immune activation appear to be major determinants of progression in HICs. These factors should be considered for adjusting their follow-up.
PMCID: PMC4493076  PMID: 26146823
2.  Does transient cART started during primary HIV infection undermine the long-term immunologic and virologic response on cART resumption? 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2015;15:178.
We explored the impact of transient cART started during the primary HIV-infection (PHI) on the long-term immunologic and virologic response on cART resumption, by comparison with treatment initiation during the chronic phase of HIV infection (CHI).
We analyzed data on 1450 patients enrolled during PHI in the ANRS PRIMO cohort between 1996 and 2013. “Treatment resumption” was defined as at least 3 months of resumed treatment following interruption of at least 1 month of treatment initiated during PHI. “Treatment initiation during CHI” was defined as cART initiated ≥6 months after PHI. The virologic response to resumed treatment and to treatment initiated during CHI was analyzed with survival models. The CD4 cell count dynamics was modeled with piecewise linear mixed models.
136 patients who resumed cART for a median (IQR) of 32 (18–51) months were compared with 377 patients who started cART during CHI for a median of 45 (22–57) months. Most patients (97%) achieved HIV-RNA <50 cp/mL after similar times in the two groups. The CD4 cell count rose similarly in the two groups during the first 12 months. However, after 12 months, patients who started cART during CHI had a better immunological response than those who resumed cART (p = 0.01); therefore, at 36 months, the gains in √CD4 cells/mm3 and CD4% were significantly greater in patients who started treatment during CHI.
These results suggest that interruption of cART started during PHI has a significant, albeit modest negative impact on CD4 cell recovery on cART resumption.
PMCID: PMC4403722  PMID: 25888386
Primary HIV-infection; Antiretroviral therapy; Immune response; Cohort; Long-term outcome
3.  Antiretroviral penetration into the CNS and incidence of AIDS-defining neurologic conditions 
Neurology  2014;83(2):134-141.
The link between CNS penetration of antiretrovirals and AIDS-defining neurologic disorders remains largely unknown.
HIV-infected, antiretroviral therapy–naive individuals in the HIV-CAUSAL Collaboration who started an antiretroviral regimen were classified according to the CNS Penetration Effectiveness (CPE) score of their initial regimen into low (<8), medium (8–9), or high (>9) CPE score. We estimated “intention-to-treat” hazard ratios of 4 neuroAIDS conditions for baseline regimens with high and medium CPE scores compared with regimens with a low score. We used inverse probability weighting to adjust for potential bias due to infrequent follow-up.
A total of 61,938 individuals were followed for a median (interquartile range) of 37 (18, 70) months. During follow-up, there were 235 cases of HIV dementia, 169 cases of toxoplasmosis, 128 cases of cryptococcal meningitis, and 141 cases of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy. The hazard ratio (95% confidence interval) for initiating a combined antiretroviral therapy regimen with a high vs low CPE score was 1.74 (1.15, 2.65) for HIV dementia, 0.90 (0.50, 1.62) for toxoplasmosis, 1.13 (0.61, 2.11) for cryptococcal meningitis, and 1.32 (0.71, 2.47) for progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy. The respective hazard ratios (95% confidence intervals) for a medium vs low CPE score were 1.01 (0.73, 1.39), 0.80 (0.56, 1.15), 1.08 (0.73, 1.62), and 1.08 (0.73, 1.58).
We estimated that initiation of a combined antiretroviral therapy regimen with a high CPE score increases the risk of HIV dementia, but not of other neuroAIDS conditions.
PMCID: PMC4117168  PMID: 24907236
4.  Local modulation of steroid action: rapid control of enzymatic activity 
Estrogens can induce rapid, short-lived physiological and behavioral responses, in addition to their slow, but long-term, effects at the transcriptional level. To be functionally relevant, these effects should be associated with rapid modulations of estrogens concentrations. 17β-estradiol is synthesized by the enzyme aromatase, using testosterone as a substrate, but can also be degraded into catechol-estrogens via hydroxylation by the same enzyme, leading to an increase or decrease in estrogens concentration, respectively. The first evidence that aromatase activity (AA) can be rapidly modulated came from experiments performed in Japanese quail hypothalamus homogenates. This rapid modulation is triggered by calcium-dependent phosphorylations and was confirmed in other tissues and species. The mechanisms controlling the phosphorylation status, the targeted amino acid residues and the reversibility seem to vary depending of the tissues and is discussed in this review. We currently do not know whether the phosphorylation of the same amino acid affects both aromatase and/or hydroxylase activities or whether these residues are different. These processes provide a new general mechanism by which local estrogen concentration can be rapidly altered in the brain and other tissues.
PMCID: PMC4365721  PMID: 25852459
aromatase; hypothalamus; 17β-estradiol; catechol-estrogens; phosphorylation; neurosteroidogenesis
5.  Both HLA-B*57 and Plasma HIV RNA Levels Contribute to the HIV-Specific CD8+ T Cell Response in HIV Controllers 
Journal of Virology  2014;88(1):176-187.
CD8+ T cell responses are thought to play an important role during HIV infection, particularly in HIV controllers (HIC) in whom viral replication is spontaneously controlled without any treatment. We have demonstrated that CD8+ T cells from these subjects are able to suppress viral replication in vitro. In parallel, HIV-specific CD8+ responses were shown to be strong and of high quality, with proliferative abilities and cytotoxic capacities, in HIC. The HLA-B*57 allele, which is associated with a better clinical outcome in HIV infection, is overrepresented in HIC. However, we showed that these patients constitute a heterogeneous group that includes subjects who present weak suppression of viral replication in vitro and HIV-specific responses. We performed an extensive study of 101 HIC (49 HLA-B*57+ and 52 HLA-B*57−) to determine the impact of HLA-B*57 on the HIV-specific CD8+ response. The HLA-B*57-restricted response displayed better qualitative features, such as higher functional avidity, higher proliferation capacity, and a higher level of cytokine production, than responses not restricted by HLA-B*57. However, the highest frequencies of HIV-specific CD8+ T cells were observed only in a subset of HLA-B*57+ subjects. They were tightly associated with the ability to suppress viral replication in vitro. In contrast, the subset of HLA-B*57+ subjects with a weak ability to suppress viral replication had significantly lower ultrasensitive viral loads than all the other groups of controllers. In conclusion, both HLA-B*57 and the amount of ultrasensitive viral load seem to play a role in HIV-specific CD8+ T cell responses in HIC.
PMCID: PMC3911721  PMID: 24131719
6.  Automated comparison of last hospital main diagnosis and underlying cause of death ICD10 codes, France, 2008–2009 
In the age of big data in healthcare, automated comparison of medical diagnoses in large scale databases is a key issue. Our objectives were: 1) to formally define and identify cases of independence between last hospitalization main diagnosis (MD) and death registry underlying cause of death (UCD) for deceased subjects hospitalized in their last year of life; 2) to study their distribution according to socio-demographic and medico-administrative variables; 3) to discuss the interest of this method in the specific context of hospital quality of care assessment.
1) Elaboration of an algorithm comparing MD and UCD, relying on Iris, a coding system based on international standards. 2) Application to 421,460 beneficiaries of the general health insurance regime (which covers 70% of French population) hospitalized and deceased in 2008–2009.
1) Independence, was defined as MD and UCD belonging to different trains of events leading to death 2) Among the deaths analyzed automatically (91.7%), 8.5% of in-hospital deaths and 19.5% of out-of-hospital deaths were classified as independent. Independence was more frequent in elder patients, as well as when the discharge-death time interval grew (14.3% when death occurred within 30 days after discharge and 27.7% within 6 to 12 months) and for UCDs other than neoplasms.
Our algorithm can identify cases where death can be considered independent from the pathology treated in hospital. Excluding these deaths from the ones allocated to the hospitalization process could contribute to improve post-hospital mortality indicators. More generally, this method has the potential of being developed and used for other diagnoses comparisons across time periods or databases.
PMCID: PMC4057818  PMID: 24898538
Cause of death; Death certificate; Medical coding; Hospital mortality; Quality indicators; Health care; Medical record linkage
7.  Immune deficiency could be an early risk factor for altered insulin sensitivity in antiretroviral-naive HIV-1-infected patients: the ANRS COPANA cohort 
Antiviral Therapy  2012;17(1):91-100.
The relationships between immunovirological status, inflammatory markers, insulin resistance and fat distribution have not been studied in recently diagnosed (<1 year) antiretroviral-naïve HIV-1-infected patients.
We studied 214 antiretroviral-naïve patients at enrolment in the metabolic sub-study of the ANRS COPANA cohort. We measured clinical, immunovirological and inflammatory parameters, glucose/insulin during oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), adipokines, subcutaneous and visceral fat surfaces (SAT and VAT, assessed by computed tomography) and the body fat distribution based on dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA).
Median age was 36 years; 28% of the patients were female and 35% of sub-Saharan origin; 20% had low CD4 counts (≤200/mm3). Patients with low CD4 counts were older and more frequently of sub-Saharan Africa origin, had lower BMI but not different SAT/VAT ratio and fat distribution than other patients. They also had lower total, LDL- and HDL-cholesterolemia, higher triglyceridemia and post-OGTT glycemia, higher markers of insulin resistance (insulin during OGTT and HOMA-IR) and of inflammation (hsCRP, IL-6, TNFα, sTNFR1 and sTNFR2). After adjustment for age, sex, geographic origin, BMI and waist circumference, increased insulin resistance was not related to any inflammatory marker. In multivariate analysis, low CD4 count was an independent risk factor for altered insulin sensitivity (β-coefficient for HOMA-IR: +0.90; p=0.001; CD4>500/mm3 as the reference), in addition to older age (β: +0.26 for a 10-year increase; p=0.01) and higher BMI (β: +0.07 for a 1-kg/m2 increase; p=0.003).
In ART-naive patients, severe immune deficiency but not inflammation could be an early risk factor for altered insulin sensitivity.
PMCID: PMC3893638  PMID: 22267473
Adipokines; blood; Adult; Africa South of the Sahara; ethnology; Blood Glucose; analysis; Body Fat Distribution; Body Mass Index; C-Reactive Protein; analysis; CD4 Lymphocyte Count; Cohort Studies; Cytokines; blood; European Continental Ancestry Group; Female; France; epidemiology; Glucose Tolerance Test; HIV Infections; blood; ethnology; immunology; virology; Humans; Insulin; blood; Insulin Resistance; immunology; Lipoproteins; blood; Male; RNA, Viral; analysis; Risk Factors
8.  An Evaluation of HIV Elite Controller Definitions within a Large Seroconverter Cohort Collaboration 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e86719.
Understanding the mechanisms underlying viral control is highly relevant to vaccine studies and elite control (EC) of HIV infection. Although numerous definitions of EC exist, it is not clear which, if any, best identify this rare phenotype.
We assessed a number of EC definitions used in the literature using CASCADE data of 25,692 HIV seroconverters. We estimated proportions maintaining EC of total ART-naïve follow-up time, and disease progression, comparing to non-EC. We also examined HIV-RNA and CD4 values and CD4 slope during EC and beyond (while ART naïve).
Most definitions classify ∼1% as ECs with median HIV-RNA 43–903 copies/ml and median CD4>500 cells/mm3. Beyond EC status, median HIV-RNA levels remained low, although often detectable, and CD4 values high but with strong evidence of decline for all definitions. Median % ART-naïve time as EC was ≥92% although overlap between definitions was low. EC definitions with consecutive HIV-RNA measurements <75 copies/ml with follow-up≥ six months, or with 90% of measurements <400 copies/ml over ≥10 year follow-up preformed best overall. Individuals thus defined were less likely to progress to endpoint (hazard ratios ranged from 12.5–19.0 for non-ECs compared to ECs).
ECs are rare, less likely to progress to clinical disease, but may eventually lose control. We suggest definitions requiring individuals to have consecutive undetectable HIV-RNA measurements for ≥ six months or otherwise with >90% of measurements <400 copies/ml over ≥10 years be used to define this phenotype.
PMCID: PMC3904947  PMID: 24489776
9.  Blunted Response to Combination Antiretroviral Therapy in HIV Elite Controllers: An International HIV Controller Collaboration 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e85516.
HIV “elite controllers” (ECs) spontaneously control viral load, but some eventually require combination antiretroviral treatment (cART), due to a loss of viral control or a decline in CD4 T-cell counts. Here we studied the CD4 T-cell count dynamics after cART initiation among 34 ECs followed in U.S. and European cohorts, by comparison with chronically viremic patients (VIRs).
ECs were defined as patients with at least ≥5 viral load (VL) measurements below 400 copies/mL during at least a 5-year period despite never receiving ART and were selected from the French ANRS CO18 cohort, the U.S. SCOPE cohort, the International HIV Controllers study and the European CASCADE collaboration. VIRs were selected from the ANRS COPANA cohort of recently-diagnosed (<1 year) ART-naïve HIV-1-infected adults. CD4 T-cell count dynamics after cART initiation in both groups were modelled with piecewise mixed linear models.
After cART initiation, CD4 T-cell counts showed a biphasic rise in VIRs with: an initial rapid increase during the first 3 months (+0.63/month), followed by +0.19/month. This first rapid phase was not observed in ECs, in whom the CD4Tc count increased steadily, at a rate similar to that of the second phase observed in VIRs. After cART initiation at a CD4 T-cell count of 300/mm3, the estimated mean CD4 T-cell gain during the first 12 months was 139/mm3 in VIRs and 80/mm3 in ECs (p = 0.048).
cART increases CD4 T-cell counts in elite controllers, albeit less markedly than in other patients.
PMCID: PMC3894966  PMID: 24465584
11.  Neurosteroid 3α-Androstanediol Efficiently Counteracts Paclitaxel-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy and Painful Symptoms 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e80915.
Painful peripheral neuropathy belongs to major side-effects limiting cancer chemotherapy. Paclitaxel, widely used to treat several cancers, induces neurological symptoms including burning pain, allodynia, hyperalgesia and numbness. Therefore, identification of drugs that may effectively counteract paclitaxel-induced neuropathic symptoms is crucial. Here, we combined histopathological, neurochemical, behavioral and electrophysiological methods to investigate the natural neurosteroid 3α-androstanediol (3α-DIOL) ability to counteract paclitaxel-evoked peripheral nerve tissue damages and neurological symptoms. Prophylactic or corrective 3α-DIOL treatment (4 mg/kg/2days) prevented or suppressed PAC-evoked heat-thermal hyperalgesia, cold-allodynia and mechanical allodynia/hyperalgesia, by reversing to normal, decreased thermal and mechanical pain thresholds of PAC-treated rats. Electrophysiological studies demonstrated that 3α-DIOL restored control values of nerve conduction velocity and action potential peak amplitude significantly altered by PAC-treatment. 3α-DIOL also repaired PAC-induced nerve damages by restoring normal neurofilament-200 level in peripheral axons and control amount of 2’,3’-cyclic-nucleotide-3’-phosphodiesterase in myelin sheaths. Decreased density of intraepidermal nerve fibers evoked by PAC-therapy was also counteracted by 3α-DIOL treatment. More importantly, 3α-DIOL beneficial effects were not sedation-dependent but resulted from its neuroprotective ability, nerve tissue repairing capacity and long-term analgesic action. Altogether, our results showing that 3α-DIOL efficiently counteracted PAC-evoked painful symptoms, also offer interesting possibilities to develop neurosteroid-based strategies against chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy. This article shows that the prophylactic or corrective treatment with 3α-androstanediol prevents or suppresses PAC-evoked painful symptoms and peripheral nerve dysfunctions in rats. The data suggest that 3α-androstanediol-based therapy may constitute an efficient strategy to explore in humans for the eradication of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy.
PMCID: PMC3829913  PMID: 24260511
12.  Associations between 25-Hydroxyvitamin D and Immunologic, Metabolic, Inflammatory Markers in Treatment-Naive HIV-Infected Persons: The ANRS CO9 «COPANA» Cohort Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e74868.
Low 25(OH)D has been associated with dyslipidemia, insulin resistance and inflammation in both general and HIV-infected (mostly treated) populations. We investigated these associations in antiretroviral-naïve HIV-infected persons.
We measured plasma 25(OH)D, metabolic, immunologic and inflammatory markers in 355 persons (204 Whites, 151 Blacks) at enrollment in the ANRS COPANA cohort.
25(OH)D levels were categorized <10 ng/mL (severe deficiency) and <20 ng/mL (deficiency). Statistical analyses were adjusted for sampling season, ethnicity and the interaction between season and ethnicity.
25(OH)D insufficiency (<30 ng/mL), deficiency (<20 ng/mL) and severe deficiency (<10 ng/mL) were highly prevalent (93%, 67% and 24% of patients, respectively). Blacks had significantly lower 25(OH)D than Whites (median: 13 vs. 17 ng/mL, P<0.001), with markedly less pronounced seasonal variation. Smoking and drinking alcohol were associated with having a 25 OHD level<10 ng/mL. In patients with 25(OH)D<10 ng/mL, the proportion of persons with a CD4 count<100/mm3 was higher than in patients with 25(OH)D≥10 ng/mL (18.8% vs. 10.7%, P = 0.04). Persons with 25 OHD<10 ng/mL had higher levels of hsCRP (1.60 mg/L [IQR: 0.59–5.76] vs. 1.27 mg/L [0.58–3,39], P = 0.03) and resistin (16.81 ng/L [IQR: 13.82–25.74] vs. 11.56 ng/L [IQR: 8.87–20.46], P = 0.02), and, among Blacks only, sTNFR2 (2.92 ng/mL [2.31–4.13] vs. 2.67 ng/mL, [1.90–3.23], P = 0.04). The strength and significance of the association between CD4<100/mm3 and 25 OHD<10 ng/mL were reduced after adjustment on sTNFR1, sTNFR2, and hsCRP levels. In multivariate analysis, a CD4 count <100/mm3, resistin concentration and smoking were independently associated with 25(OH)D<10 ng/mL.
Severe vitamin D deficiency was associated with low CD4 counts and increased markers of inflammation in ARV-naïve HIV-infected persons.
PMCID: PMC3776742  PMID: 24058636
13.  Implementing screening for Lynch syndrome among patients with newly diagnosed colorectal cancer: summary of a public health/clinical collaborative meeting 
Lynch syndrome is the most common cause of inherited colorectal cancer, accounting for approximately 3% of all colorectal cancer cases in the United States. In 2009, an evidence-based review process conducted by the independent Evaluation of Genomic Applications in Practice and Prevention Working Group resulted in a recommendation to offer genetic testing for Lynch syndrome to all individuals with newly diagnosed colorectal cancer, with the intent of reducing morbidity and mortality in family members. To explore issues surrounding implementation of this recommendation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention convened a multidisciplinary working group meeting in September 2010. This article reviews background information regarding screening for Lynch syndrome and summarizes existing clinical paradigms, potential implementation strategies, and conclusions which emerged from the meeting. It was recognized that widespread implementation will present substantial challenges, and additional data from pilot studies will be needed. However, evidence of feasibility and population health benefits and the advantages of considering a public health approach were acknowledged. Lynch syndrome can potentially serve as a model to facilitate the development and implementation of population-level programs for evidence-based genomic medicine applications involving follow-up testing of at-risk relatives. Such endeavors will require multilevel and multidisciplinary approaches building on collaborative public health and clinical partnerships.
PMCID: PMC3762677  PMID: 22237445
colorectal cancer; genetic screening; genetic testing; HNPCC; Lynch syndrome
14.  Is Clinical Practice Concordant with the Changes in Guidelines for Antiretroviral Therapy Initiation during Primary and Chronic HIV-1 Infection? The ANRS PRIMO and COPANA Cohorts 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e71473.
Guidelines for initiating HIV treatment are regularly revised. We explored how physicians in France have applied these evolving guidelines for ART initiation over the last decade in two different situations: chronic (CHI) and primary HIV-1 infection (PHI), since specific recommendations for PHI are also provided in France.
Data came from the ANRS PRIMO (1267 patients enrolled during PHI in 1996–2010) and COPANA (800 subjects enrolled at HIV diagnosis in 2004–2008) cohorts. We defined as guidelines-inconsistent during PHI and CHI, patients meeting criteria for ART initiation and not treated in the following month and during the next 6 months, respectively.
ART initiation during PHI dramatically decreased from 91% of patients in 1996–99 to 22% in 2007 and increased to 60% in 2010, following changes in recommendations. In 2007, however, after the CD4 count threshold was raised to 350 cells/mm3 in 2006, only 55% of the patients with CD4≤350 were treated and 66% in 2008. During CHI, ART was more frequently initiated in patients who met the criteria at entry (96%) than during follow-up: 83% when recommendation to treat was 200 and 73% when it was 350 cells/mm3. Independent risk factors for not being treated during CHI despite meeting the criteria were lower viral load, lower educational level, and poorer living conditions.
HIV ART initiation guidelines are largely followed by practitioners in France. What can still be improved, however, is time to treat when CD4 cell counts reach the threshold to treat. Risk factors for lack of timely treatment highlight the need to understand better how patients’ living conditions and physicians’ perceptions influence the decision to initiate treatment.
PMCID: PMC3731276  PMID: 23936509
15.  Virologic and Immunologic Response to cART by HIV-1 Subtype in the CASCADE Collaboration 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e71174.
We aimed to compare rates of virologic response and CD4 changes after combination antiretroviral (cART) initiation in individuals infected with B and specific non-B HIV subtypes.
Using CASCADE data we analyzed HIV-RNA and CD4 counts for persons infected ≥1996, ≥15 years of age. We used survival and longitudinal modeling to estimate probabilities of virologic response (confirmed HIV-RNA <500 c/ml), and failure (HIV-RNA>500 c/ml at 6 months or ≥1000 c/ml following response) and CD4 increase after cART initiation.
2003 (1706 B, 142 CRF02_AG, 55 A, 53 C, 47 CRF01_AE) seroconverters were included in analysis. There was no evidence of subtype effect overall for response or failure (p = 0.075 and 0.317, respectively) although there was a suggestion that those infected with subtypes CRF01_AE and A responded sooner than those with subtype B infection [HR (95% CI):1.37 (1.01–1.86) and 1.29 (0.96–1.72), respectively]. Rates of CD4 increase were similar in all subtypes except subtype A, which tended to have lower initial, but faster long-term, increases.
Virologic and immunologic response to cART was similar across all studied subtypes but statistical power was limited by the rarity of some non-B subtypes. Current antiretroviral agents seem to have similar efficacy in subtype B and most widely encountered non-B infections in high-income countries.
PMCID: PMC3728088  PMID: 23936260
16.  Association Study of Common Genetic Variants and HIV-1 Acquisition in 6,300 Infected Cases and 7,200 Controls 
PLoS Pathogens  2013;9(7):e1003515.
Multiple genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have been performed in HIV-1 infected individuals, identifying common genetic influences on viral control and disease course. Similarly, common genetic correlates of acquisition of HIV-1 after exposure have been interrogated using GWAS, although in generally small samples. Under the auspices of the International Collaboration for the Genomics of HIV, we have combined the genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data collected by 25 cohorts, studies, or institutions on HIV-1 infected individuals and compared them to carefully matched population-level data sets (a list of all collaborators appears in Note S1 in Text S1). After imputation using the 1,000 Genomes Project reference panel, we tested approximately 8 million common DNA variants (SNPs and indels) for association with HIV-1 acquisition in 6,334 infected patients and 7,247 population samples of European ancestry. Initial association testing identified the SNP rs4418214, the C allele of which is known to tag the HLA-B*57:01 and B*27:05 alleles, as genome-wide significant (p = 3.6×10−11). However, restricting analysis to individuals with a known date of seroconversion suggested that this association was due to the frailty bias in studies of lethal diseases. Further analyses including testing recessive genetic models, testing for bulk effects of non-genome-wide significant variants, stratifying by sexual or parenteral transmission risk and testing previously reported associations showed no evidence for genetic influence on HIV-1 acquisition (with the exception of CCR5Δ32 homozygosity). Thus, these data suggest that genetic influences on HIV acquisition are either rare or have smaller effects than can be detected by this sample size.
Author Summary
Comparing the frequency differences between common DNA variants in disease-affected cases and in unaffected controls has been successful in uncovering the genetic component of multiple diseases. This approach is most effective when large samples of cases and controls are available. Here we combine information from multiple studies of HIV infected patients, including more than 6,300 HIV+ individuals, with data from 7,200 general population samples of European ancestry to test nearly 8 million common DNA variants for an impact on HIV acquisition. With this large sample we did not observe any single common genetic variant that significantly associated with HIV acquisition. We further tested 22 variants previously identified by smaller studies as influencing HIV acquisition. With the exception of a deletion polymorphism in the CCR5 gene (CCR5Δ32) we found no convincing evidence to support these previous associations. Taken together these data suggest that genetic influences on HIV acquisition are either rare or have smaller effects than can be detected by this sample size.
PMCID: PMC3723635  PMID: 23935489
17.  Sexually-Transmitted/Founder HIV-1 Cannot Be Directly Predicted from Plasma or PBMC-Derived Viral Quasispecies in the Transmitting Partner 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e69144.
Characterization of HIV-1 sequences in newly infected individuals is important for elucidating the mechanisms of viral sexual transmission. We report the identification of transmitted/founder viruses in eight pairs of HIV-1 sexually-infected patients enrolled at the time of primary infection (“recipients”) and their transmitting partners (“donors”).
Using a single genome-amplification approach, we compared quasispecies in donors and recipients on the basis of 316 and 376 C2V5 env sequences amplified from plasma viral RNA and PBMC-associated DNA, respectively.
Both DNA and RNA sequences indicated very homogeneous viral populations in all recipients, suggesting transmission of a single variant, even in cases of recent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in donors (n = 2) or recipients (n = 3). In all pairs, the transmitted/founder virus was derived from an infrequent variant population within the blood of the donor. The donor variant sequences most closely related to the recipient sequences were found in plasma samples in 3/8 cases and/or in PBMC samples in 6/8 cases. Although donors were exclusively (n = 4) or predominantly (n = 4) infected by CCR5-tropic (R5) strains, two recipients were infected with highly homogeneous CXCR4/dual-mixed-tropic (X4/DM) viral populations, identified in both DNA and RNA. The proportion of X4/DM quasispecies in donors was higher in cases of X4/DM than R5 HIV transmission (16.7–22.0% versus 0–2.6%), suggesting that X4/DM transmission may be associated with a threshold population of X4/DM circulating quasispecies in donors.
These suggest that a severe genetic bottleneck occurs during subtype B HIV-1 heterosexual and homosexual transmission. Sexually-transmitted/founder virus cannot be directly predicted by analysis of the donor’s quasispecies in plasma and/or PBMC. Additional studies are required to fully understand the traits that confer the capacity to transmit and establish infection, and determine the role of concomitant STIs in mitigating the genetic bottleneck in mucosal HIV transmission.
PMCID: PMC3706485  PMID: 23874894
18.  Evidence for a Continuous Drift of the HIV-1 Species towards Higher Resistance to Neutralizing Antibodies over the Course of the Epidemic 
PLoS Pathogens  2013;9(7):e1003477.
We compared the neutralization sensitivity of early/transmitted HIV-1 variants from patients infected by subtype B viruses at 3 periods of the epidemic (1987–1991, 1996–2000, 2006–2010). Infectious pseudotyped viruses expressing envelope glycoproteins representative of the viral quasi-species infecting each patient were tested for sensitivity to neutralization by pools of sera from HIV-1 chronically infected patients and by an updated panel of 13 human monoclonal neutralizing antibodies (HuMoNAbs). A progressive significantly enhanced resistance to neutralization was observed over calendar time, by both human sera and most of the HuMoNAbs tested (b12, VRC01, VRC03, NIH45-46G54W, PG9, PG16, PGT121, PGT128, PGT145). Despite this evolution, a combination of two HuMoNAbs (NIH45-46G54W and PGT128) still would efficiently neutralize the most contemporary transmitted variants. In addition, we observed a significant reduction of the heterologous neutralizing activity of sera from individuals infected most recently (2003–2007) compared to patients infected earlier (1987–1991), suggesting that the increasing resistance of the HIV species to neutralization over time coincided with a decreased immunogenicity. These data provide evidence for an ongoing adaptation of the HIV-1 species to the humoral immunity of the human population, which may add an additional obstacle to the design of an efficient HIV-1 vaccine.
Author Summary
Most of the patients develop autologous neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) during HIV-1 infection. These NAbs drive the viral evolution and lead to the selection of escape variants at the individual level. The aim of our study was to check if, subsequently to the selective pressure exerted by the individual NAbs responses, the HIV-1 species has evolved at the population level towards an enhanced resistance to antibody neutralization. By comparing HIV-1 subtype B variants collected at three periods spanning more than 2 decades, we found a significantly progressive enhanced resistance to neutralization of the HIV-1 species over time. In addition, the enhanced resistance of the HIV species to neutralization coincided with a decreased capability of the virus to induce NAbs in infected patients. Despite this evolution, one combination of two human monoclonal broadly NAbs still were able to neutralize the most recent HIV-1 variants, suggesting that this combination should be preferentially included in future human immunoprophylaxis trials.
PMCID: PMC3701719  PMID: 23853594
19.  The Th17/Treg Ratio, IL-1RA and sCD14 Levels in Primary HIV Infection Predict the T-cell Activation Set Point in the Absence of Systemic Microbial Translocation 
PLoS Pathogens  2013;9(6):e1003453.
Impairment of the intestinal barrier and subsequent microbial translocation (MT) may be involved in chronic immune activation, which plays a central role in HIV pathogenesis. Th17 cells are critical to prevent MT. The aim of the study was to investigate, in patients with primary HIV infection (PHI), the early relationship between the Th17/Treg ratio, monocyte activation and MT and their impact on the T-cell activation set point, which is known to predict disease progression. 27 patients with early PHI were included in a prospective longitudinal study and followed-up for 6 months. At baseline, the Th17/Treg ratio strongly negatively correlated with the proportion of activated CD8 T cells expressing CD38/HLA-DR or Ki-67. Also, the Th17/Treg ratio was negatively related to viral load and plasma levels of sCD14 and IL-1RA, two markers of monocyte activation. In untreated patients, the Th17/Treg ratio at baseline negatively correlated with CD8 T-cell activation at month 6 defining the T-cell activation set point (% HLA-DR+CD38+ and %Ki-67+). Soluble CD14 and IL-1RA plasma levels also predicted the T-cell activation set point. Levels of I-FABP, a marker of mucosal damages, were similar to healthy controls at baseline but increased at month 6. No decrease in anti-endotoxin core antibody (EndoCAb) and no peptidoglycan were detected during PHI. In addition, 16S rDNA was only detected at low levels in 2 out 27 patients at baseline and in one additional patient at M6. Altogether, data support the hypothesis that T-cell and monocyte activation in PHI are not primarily driven by systemic MT but rather by viral replication. Moreover, the “innate immune set point” defined by the early levels of sCD14 and IL-1RA might be powerful early surrogate markers for disease progression and should be considered for use in clinical practice.
Author Summary
Generalized immune activation is pivotal in the pathogenesis of HIV disease. Impairment in the gut mucosal barrier allows the translocation of microbial flora from the gut towards the circulation. Translocated microbial products, together with HIV replication, contribute to chronic immune activation. Th17 cells are involved in epithelial barrier integrity and a loss of the balance between Th17 and regulatory T cells (Tregs) has been associated with disease progression. Early events occurring following infection are crucial for the subsequent disease progression. Thus, a high immune activation set point (level of T-cell activation established at the end of acute infection) is a marker of poor prognosis. Whether microbial translocation contributes to the immune activation set point remains an outstanding question. In our longitudinal prospective study of patients with acute infection, we investigated the early relationships between the Th17/Treg balance, monocyte activation and microbial translocation and their impact on the T-cell activation set point. We demonstrated that systemic microbial translocation does not occur at the time of acute infection. Moreover, we identified IL-1RA as a novel plasma biomarker predictive of the immune activation set point. This biomarker could be considered for use in clinical practice as a surrogate marker for disease progression.
PMCID: PMC3688532  PMID: 23818854
20.  Burden of HIV disease and comorbidities on the chances of maintaining employment in the era of sustained combined antiretoviral therapies use 
AIDS (London, England)  2012;26(2):207-215.
Employment status is a major predictor of health status and living conditions, especially among HIV-infected people, a predominantly working-aged population. We aimed to quantify the risk of work cessation following HIV diagnosis in France in 2004–2010 and to measure the respective burden of HIV-related characteristics and of associated comorbidities on this risk.
We used data from the ANRS-COPANA multicenter cohort made of a diversified sample of recently diagnosed HIV-1-infected adults, antiretroviral treatment-naïve at baseline in 2004–2008. Detailed information on living conditions and clinical and biological characteristics were collected prospectively.
The risk of work cessation among the 376 working-aged participants employed at baseline was estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method. Characteristics associated with the risk of work cessation were identified using multivariate Cox models.
The cumulative probability of work cessation reached 14.1% after 2 years and 34.7% after 5 years. Diabetes, hypertension and, to a lesser extent, signs of depression were associated with increased risks of work cessation after accounting for socio-occupational characteristics (adjusted hazard ratios [95% confidence interval]:5.7 [1.7–18.8], 3.1 [1.5–6.4] and 1.6 [0.9–2.9], respectively). In contrast, HIV disease severity and treatment, and experience of HIV-related discrimination were not statistically associated with the risk of work cessation.
The risk of work cessation during the course of HIV disease has remained substantial in the most recent period in France. Comorbidities, but not characteristics of HIV disease itself, substantially affect chances of maintaining in employment. This provides insights into strategies for limiting the burden of HIV disease for individuals and society.
PMCID: PMC3680952  PMID: 22008658
Adult; Anti-HIV Agents; therapeutic use; Cardiovascular Diseases; drug therapy; epidemiology; virology; Cohort Studies; Comorbidity; Cost of Illness; Depression; drug therapy; epidemiology; virology; Diabetes Mellitus; drug therapy; epidemiology; virology; Employment; statistics & numerical data; Female; France; HIV Infections; drug therapy; epidemiology; virology; HIV-1; Health Status; Humans; Kaplan-Meier Estimate; Male; Middle Aged; Occupational Health; Proportional Hazards Models; Prospective Studies; Socioeconomic Factors; Truth Disclosure; Employment status; Socioeconomic factors; Comorbidity; HIV-related discrimination; France
21.  A Single HIV-1 Cluster and a Skewed Immune Homeostasis Drive the Early Spread of HIV among Resting CD4+ Cell Subsets within One Month Post-Infection 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e64219.
Optimizing therapeutic strategies for an HIV cure requires better understanding the characteristics of early HIV-1 spread among resting CD4+ cells within the first month of primary HIV-1 infection (PHI). We studied the immune distribution, diversity, and inducibility of total HIV-DNA among the following cell subsets: monocytes, peripheral blood activated and resting CD4 T cells, long-lived (naive [TN] and central-memory [TCM]) and short-lived (transitional-memory [TTM] and effector-memory cells [TEM]) resting CD4+T cells from 12 acutely-infected individuals recruited at a median 36 days from infection. Cells were sorted for total HIV-DNA quantification, phylogenetic analysis and inducibility, all studied in relation to activation status and cell signaling. One month post-infection, a single CCR5-restricted viral cluster was massively distributed in all resting CD4+ subsets from 88% subjects, while one subject showed a slight diversity. High levels of total HIV-DNA were measured among TN (median 3.4 log copies/million cells), although 10-fold less (p = 0.0005) than in equally infected TCM (4.5), TTM (4.7) and TEM (4.6) cells. CD3−CD4+ monocytes harbored a low viral burden (median 2.3 log copies/million cells), unlike equally infected resting and activated CD4+ T cells (4.5 log copies/million cells). The skewed repartition of resting CD4 subsets influenced their contribution to the pool of resting infected CD4+T cells, two thirds of which consisted of short-lived TTM and TEM subsets, whereas long-lived TN and TCM subsets contributed the balance. Each resting CD4 subset produced HIV in vitro after stimulation with anti-CD3/anti-CD28+IL-2 with kinetics and magnitude varying according to subset differentiation, while IL-7 preferentially induced virus production from long-lived resting TN cells. In conclusion, within a month of infection, a clonal HIV-1 cluster is massively distributed among resting CD4 T-cell subsets with a flexible inducibility, suggesting that subset activation and skewed immune homeostasis determine the conditions of viral dissemination and early establishment of the HIV reservoir.
PMCID: PMC3653877  PMID: 23691172
22.  CD8 T-Cells from Most HIV-Infected Patients Lack Ex Vivo HIV-Suppressive Capacity during Acute and Early Infection 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e59767.
The strong CD8+ T-cell-mediated HIV-1-suppressive capacity found in a minority of HIV-infected patients in chronic infection is associated with spontaneous control of viremia. However, it is still unclear whether such capacities were also present earlier in the CD8+ T cells from non controller patients and then lost as a consequence of uncontrolled viral replication. We studied 50 patients with primary HIV-1-infection to determine whether strong CD8+ T-cell-mediated HIV suppression is more often observed at that time. Despite high frequencies of polyfunctional HIV-specific CD8+ T-cells and a strong CD4+ T-helper response, CD8+ T-cells from 48 patients lacked strong HIV-suppressive capacities ex vivo. This indicates that the superior HIV-suppressive capacity of CD8+ T-cells from HIV controllers is not a general characteristic of the HIV-specific CD8+ T cell response in primary HIV infection.
PMCID: PMC3612088  PMID: 23555774
23.  Post-Treatment HIV-1 Controllers with a Long-Term Virological Remission after the Interruption of Early Initiated Antiretroviral Therapy ANRS VISCONTI Study 
PLoS Pathogens  2013;9(3):e1003211.
Combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) reduces HIV-associated morbidities and mortalities but cannot cure the infection. Given the difficulty of eradicating HIV-1, a functional cure for HIV-infected patients appears to be a more reachable short-term goal. We identified 14 HIV patients (post-treatment controllers [PTCs]) whose viremia remained controlled for several years after the interruption of prolonged cART initiated during the primary infection. Most PTCs lacked the protective HLA B alleles that are overrepresented in spontaneous HIV controllers (HICs); instead, they carried risk-associated HLA alleles that were largely absent among the HICs. Accordingly, the PTCs had poorer CD8+ T cell responses and more severe primary infections than the HICs did. Moreover, the incidence of viral control after the interruption of early antiretroviral therapy was higher among the PTCs than has been reported for spontaneous control. Off therapy, the PTCs were able to maintain and, in some cases, further reduce an extremely low viral reservoir. We found that long-lived HIV-infected CD4+ T cells contributed poorly to the total resting HIV reservoir in the PTCs because of a low rate of infection of naïve T cells and a skewed distribution of resting memory CD4+ T cell subsets. Our results show that early and prolonged cART may allow some individuals with a rather unfavorable background to achieve long-term infection control and may have important implications in the search for a functional HIV cure.
Author Summary
There is a renewed scientific interest in developing strategies allowing long-term remission in HIV-1-infected individuals. Very rare (<1%) patients are able to spontaneously control viremia to undetectable levels (HIV controllers, HICs). However, the possibility to translate their mechanisms of control to other patients is uncertain. Starting antiretroviral therapy during primary infection may provide significant benefits to HIV-infected patients (i.e. reduction of viral reservoirs, preservation of immune responses, protection from chronic immune activation). Indeed, we have observed that some HIV-infected patients interrupting a prolonged antiretroviral therapy initiated close to primary infection are able to control viremia afterwards. We present here 14 of such post-treatment controllers (PTCs). We show that PTCs have achieved control of infection through mechanisms that are, at least in part, different from those commonly observed in HICs and that their capacity to control is likely related to early therapeutic intervention. We found that PTCs were able, after therapy interruption, to keep, and in some cases further reduce, a weak viral reservoir. This might be related to the low contribution of long-lived cells to the HIV-reservoir in these patients. Finally, we estimated the probability of maintaining viral control at 24 months post-early treatment interruption to be ∼15%, which is much higher than the one expected for spontaneous control.
PMCID: PMC3597518  PMID: 23516360
24.  Analysis of NKp30/NCR3 isoforms in untreated HIV-1-infected patients from the ANRS SEROCO cohort 
Oncoimmunology  2013;2(3):e23472.
Natural killer (NK) cells play a prominent role at the intersection between innate and cognate immunity, thus influencing the development of multiple pathological conditions including HIV-1-induced AIDS. Not only NK cells directly kill HIV-1-infected cells, but also control the maturation and/or elimination of dendritic cells (DCs). These functions are regulated by the delicate balance between activating and inhibiting receptors expressed at the NK-cell surface. Among the former, NKp30 has raised significant interest since the alternative splicing of its intracellular domain leads to differential effector functions, dictating the prognosis of patients bearing gastrointestinal sarcoma, and B7-H6 has recently been identified as its main ligand. Since NKp30 is downregulated in CD56-/CD16+ NK cells expanded in viremic, chronically infected HIV-1+ patients, we decided to investigate the predictive value of NKp30 splice variants for spontaneous disease progression in 89 therapy-naïve HIV-1-infected individuals enrolled in an historical cohort of patients followed since diagnosis (ANRS SEROCO cohort). We found no difference in the representation of NK-cell subsets (CD56bright, CD56dim, CD56neg) in HIV-1-infected patients as compared with healthy subjects. NKp30 downregulation was detected in CD56dim and CD56neg NK-cell subsets, yet this did not convey any prognostic value. None of the NKp30 isoforms did affect disease progression, as measured in terms of time-to-loss of circulating CD4+ T cells, time-to-AIDS-defining events and overall survival. NKp30 isoforms do not seem to play a major role in the outcome of HIV-1 infection, but the heterogeneity of the immuno-virological status of patients at enrollment could have to be taken into account.
PMCID: PMC3661172  PMID: 23802087
HIV-1; immunosurveillance; natural course of infection; NK; NKp30 isoforms
25.  Decreased Specificity of an Assay for Recent Infection in HIV-1-Infected Patients on Highly Active Antiretroviral Treatment: Implications for Incidence Estimates 
The aim of this study was to estimate the rate of misclassification in treated HIV patients who initiated treatment at the chronic stage of HIV infection using an enzyme immunoassay (EIA) that discriminates between recent infection (RI; within 6 months) and established infection. The performance of EIA-RI was evaluated in 96 HIV-1 chronically infected patients on highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) with an undetectable viral load (VL) for at least 3 years. Demographic data, HIV-1 viral load, CD4+ T-cell count, viral subtype, and treatment duration were collected. The subset of misclassified patients was further analyzed using samples collected annually. The impact on incidence estimates was evaluated by simulation. The specificity in treated patients was significantly lower (70.8 to 77.1%) than that observed in untreated patients (93.3 to 99.3%, P < 0.001). Patients falsely classified as recently infected had been treated for a longer period and had longer-term viral suppression than those correctly classified. The loss of specificity of the test due to treatment may have a dramatic impact on the accuracy of the incidence estimates, with a major impact when HIV prevalence is high. The cross-sectional studies intended to derive HIV incidence must collect information on treatment or, alternatively, should include detection of antiretroviral drugs in blood specimens to rule out treated patients from the calculations.
PMCID: PMC3416072  PMID: 22718132

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