Infection with Kaposi’s Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus (KSHV/HHV-8) is common among men who have sex with men (MSM). Here quantitative anti-KSHV antibody levels were measured using Luciferase Immunoprecipitation Systems (LIPS) in a MSM cohort with and without HIV from the NIH Clinical Center. Antibodies were detected using a mixture of four KSHV antigens in the MSM cohort and in Kaposi Sarcoma (KS) patients. Along with HIV status, these results were compared with K8.1 and ORF73 ELISA, PCR virus detection, and additional LIPS testing. LIPS revealed that 25% (76/307) of the MSM cohort were KSHV seropositive, including 59 HIV+ and 17 HIV− subjects. The anti-KSHV antibody levels detected by LIPS were not statistically different between the KSHV+/HIV+ and KSHV+/HIV− subgroups, but were lower than the KS patients (P<0.0001). ELISA analysis of the MSM cohort detected a 35.5% frequency of KSHV infection and showed agreement with 81% of the samples evaluated by LIPS. Further LIPS testing with v-cyclin, a second ORF73 fragment and ORF38 reconciled some of the differences observed between LIPS and the ELISA immunoassays and the revised LIPS seroprevalence in the MSM cohort was increased to 31%. Additional quantitative antibody analysis demonstrated statistically lower KSHV antibody levels in MSM compared to KS patients, but no difference was found between KSHV infected with and without HIV coinfection. These findings also suggest that antibodies against v-cyclin and ORF38 are useful for identifying patients with asymptomatic KSHV infection.
antibodies; Kaposi’s Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus (KSHV); MSM
Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) encodes 12 pre-microRNAs that can produce 25 KSHV mature microRNAs. We previously reported single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in KSHV-encoded pre-microRNA and mature microRNA sequences from clinical samples (V. Marshall et al., J. Infect. Dis., 195:645–659, 2007). To determine whether microRNA SNPs affect pre-microRNA processing and, ultimately, mature microRNA expression levels, we performed a detailed comparative analysis of (i) mature microRNA expression levels, (ii) in vitro Drosha/Dicer processing, and (iii) RNA-induced silencing complex-dependent targeting of wild-type (wt) and variant microRNA genes. Expression of pairs of wt and variant pre-microRNAs from retroviral vectors and measurement of KSHV mature microRNA expression by real-time reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) revealed differential expression levels that correlated with the presence of specific sequence polymorphisms. Measurement of KSHV mature microRNA expression in a panel of primary effusion lymphoma cell lines by real-time RT-PCR recapitulated some observed expression differences but suggested a more complex relationship between sequence differences and expression of mature microRNA. Furthermore, in vitro maturation assays demonstrated significant SNP-associated changes in Drosha/DGCR8 and/or Dicer processing. These data demonstrate that SNPs within KSHV-encoded pre-microRNAs are associated with differential microRNA expression levels. Given the multiple reports on the involvement of microRNAs in cancer, the biological significance of these phenotypic and genotypic variants merits further studies in patients with KSHV-associated malignancies.
Kaposi sarcoma–associated herpesvirus (KSHV) infection is endemic among adult populations in Africa. A prevailing view is that childhood transmission is primarily responsible for the high seroprevalence of KSHV among adults that is observed throughout the continent. However, few studies have directly examined children, particularly in locations where KS is not commonly endemic.
Participants were children aged 1.5−8.9 years, including 427 children from a population-based sample in South Africa, 422 from a population-based sample in Uganda, and 567 from a clinic-based sample in Uganda. All serum specimens were tested by the same laboratory for KSHV antibodies with use of 2 enzyme immunoassays (against K8.1 and ORF65) and 1 immunofluorescence assay.
KSHV seroprevalence was 7.5%−9.0% among South African children and was not associated with age. In contrast, in the Ugandan population-based sample, KSHV seroprevalence increased from 10% among 2-year-old children to 30.6% among 8-year-old children (Ptrend < .001). In the Ugandan clinic-based sample, seroprevalence increased from 9.3% among 2-year-old children to 36.4% among 8-year-old children (Ptrend < .001).
Two distinct relationships between age and KSHV infection among children imply that KSHV transmission among children is not uniform throughout Africa and is therefore not always responsible for the high seroprevalence observed in adults. There are at least 2 patterns of KSHV transmission in Africa.
The Kaposi sarcoma associated herpesvirus (KSHV) genome encodes more than 85 open reading frames (ORFs). Serological evaluation of KSHV infection now generally relies on reactivity to just one latent and/or one lytic protein (commonly ORF73 and K8.1). Most of the other polypeptides encoded by the virus have unknown antigenic profiles. We have systematically expressed and purified products from 72 KSHV ORFs in recombinant systems and analyzed seroreactivity in US patients with KSHV-associated malignancies, and US blood donors (low KSHV seroprevalence population). We identified several KSHV proteins (ORF38, ORF61, ORF59 and K5) that elicited significant responses in individuals with KSHV-associated diseases. In these patients, patterns of reactivity were heterogeneous; however, HIV infection appeared to be associated with breadth and intensity of serological responses. Improved antigenic characterization of additional ORFs may increase the sensitivity of serologic assays, lead to more rapid progresses in understanding immune responses to KSHV, and allow for better comprehension of the natural history of KSHV infection. To this end, we have developed a bead-based multiplex assay detecting antibodies to six KSHV antigens.
Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is the cause of Kaposi sarcoma, primary effusion lymphoma and a form of multicentric Castleman's disease, affecting mainly persons with HIV, other immunosuppressed patients and elderly men. Such diseases are most common where KSHV prevalence is high, in sub-Saharan Africa and the Mediterranean, and amongst men who have sex with men. Various assays for the serodiagnosis of KSHV have been developed to investigate global KSHV epidemiology. ELISAs utilizing one lytic (K8.1) and one latent antigen (ORF73) are often used. However, a more complete characterization of immune responses to all KSHV antigens may have important epidemiologic and clinical applications. We systematically expressed and purified 73 of the 85 proteins encoded by KSHV and analysed serologic responses in patients with KSHV-associated malignancies compared to healthy subjects. We identified significant reactivity to ORF38, ORF61, ORF59 and K5, in addition to the known K8.1, ORF73 and ORF65. Reactivity patterns were varied; however, HIV infected individuals were reactive to more antigens, with greater intensity. Next, we developed a bead-based assay that can test a small sample simultaneously for six KSHV antigens. The new tool can improve the detection of KSHV and the characterization of asymptomatic infection and KSHV associated diseases.
Kaposi's sarcoma associated-herpesvirus causes all forms of Kaposi's sarcoma, and six major subtypes have been described based on the amino acid sequences of the open reading frame K1.
A 71-year-old man from China, HIV negative, presented with nodules on the dorsal aspect of his toes. Biopsy confirmed the diagnosis of Kaposi's sarcoma and virology studies of his blood and saliva confirmed the presence of Kaposi's sarcoma associated-herpesvirus infection. Viral genotyping was consistent with subtype C3. Intervention has been deferred as our patient has remained clinically asymptomatic and without evident growth of his lesions over a 2-year follow up.
We herein report the first known case of Kaposi's sarcoma restricted to the toes caused by the viral subtype C3 in an HIV-negative patient from Harbin, China.
China; KSHV; HIV; human herpesvirus-8 subtypes; Kaposi's sarcoma; viral phylogeny
Determinants of Kaposi sarcoma–associated herpesvirus (KSHV) seropositivity among children living in sub-Saharan African populations where infection is endemic are not well understood. Local environmental factors, including other infectious agents, may be key.
Within the context of a well-characterized birth cohort, we examined associations between various factors and antibodies against KSHV, measured in stored plasma samples from 1823 mother–child pairs in Entebbe, Uganda.
Seroprevalence increased with increasing age of the child (P = 0.0003) and was higher among those with KSHV seropositive mothers than in those without (12% vs 9%; odds ratio: 1.4, 95% confidence interval: 1.1 to 2.0). It was also higher among children with HIV infection (29% vs 10%; odds ratio: 3.1, 95% confidence interval: 1.2 to 8.3) or malaria parasitemia (30% vs 10%; odds ratio: 4.1, 95% confidence interval: 2.4 to 7.0) than in children without. These associations were not explained by socioeconomic status.
The finding that KSHV serostatus is associated with malaria parasitemia in children is novel. In a country endemic for KSHV, malaria may be a cofactor for KSHV infection or reactivation among children.
Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus; Sub-Saharan Africa; children; HIV; Kaposi sarcoma
Kaposi sarcoma–associated herpesvirus (KSHV) encodes 12 pre-microRNAs that yield 25 mature microRNAs. We previously reported phylogenetic analysis of the microRNA-coding region of KSHV from Kaposi sarcoma (KS), primary effusion lymphoma (PEL), and multicentric Castleman disease (MCD) patients. We observed a high level of conservation for most sequences but also a divergent cluster of 5 KSHV sequences, including 2 from MCD patients.
KSHV microRNA sequences from 23 MCD patients and 7 patients with a newly described KSHV-associated inflammatory cytokine syndrome (KICS) were examined by amplification, cloning, and sequencing of a 646-bp fragment of K12/T0.7 encoding microRNA-K12-10 and microRNA-K12-12 and a 2.8-kbp fragment containing the remaining 10 pre-microRNAs.
Phylogenetic analysis showed a distinct variant cluster consisting exclusively of MCD and KICS patients in all trees. Pearson χ2 analysis revealed that 40 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at various loci were significantly associated with MCD and KICS risk. Cluster analysis of these SNPs generated several combinations of 3 SNPs as putative indicators of MCD and KICS risk.
These findings show that MCD and KICS patients frequently have unusual KSHV microRNA sequences and suggest an association between the observed sequence variation and risk of MCD and KICS.
Alternatives to cytotoxic agents are desirable for patients with HIV-associated Kaposi's sarcoma (KS). Vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A) contributes to KS pathogenesis. We evaluated the humanized anti–VEGF-A monoclonal antibody, bevacizumab, in patients with HIV-KS.
Patients and Methods
Patients with HIV-KS who either experienced progression while receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) for at least 1 month or did not regress despite HAART for at least 4 months were administered bevacizumab 15 mg/kg intravenously on days 1 and 8 and then every 3 weeks. The primary objective was assessment of antitumor activity using modified AIDS Clinical Trial Group (ACTG) criteria for HIV-KS. HIV-uninfected patients were also eligible and observed separately.
Seventeen HIV-infected patients were enrolled. Fourteen patients had been receiving effective HAART for at least 6 months (median, 1 year). Thirteen patients had advanced disease (ACTG T1), 13 patients had received prior chemotherapy for KS, and seven patients had CD4 count less than 200 cells/μL. Median number of cycles was 10 (range, 1 to 37 cycles); median follow-up was 8.3 months (range, 3 to 36 months). Of 16 assessable patients, best tumor responses observed were complete response (CR) in three patients (19%), partial response (PR) in two patients (12%), stable disease in nine patients (56%), and progressive disease in two patients (12%). Overall response rate (CR + PR) was 31% (95% CI, 11% to 58.7%). Four of five responders had received prior chemotherapy for KS. Over 202 cycles, grade 3 to 4 adverse events at least possibly attributed to therapy included hypertension (n = 7), neutropenia (n = 5), cellulitis (n = 3), and headache (n = 2).
Bevacizumab is tolerated in patients with HIV-KS and has activity in a subset of patients.
Much has been learned since the discovery of KSHV in 1994 about its epidemiology and pathology but much of what has been learned has yet to be translated into clinical practice. In this review, we survey the current state of knowledge on KSHV epidemiology and KS pathogenesis and highlight therapeutic opportunities in both the developed and developing world.
Kaposi sarcoma (KS) is the most common AIDS-defining tumour in HIV-infected individuals in Africa. Kaposi sarcoma herpes virus (KSHV) infection precedes development of KS. KSHV co-infection may be associated with worse outcomes in HIV disease and elevated KSHV viral load may be an early marker for advanced HIV disease among untreated patients. We examined the prevalence of KSHV among adults initiating antiretroviral therapy (ART) and compared immunological, demographic and clinical factors between patients seropositive and seronegative for KSHV.
We analyzed cross-sectional data collected from 404 HIV-infected treatment-naïve adults initiating ART at the Themba Lethu Clinic, Johannesburg, South Africa between November 2008 and March 2009. Subjects were screened at ART initiation for antibodies to KSHV lytic K8.1 and latent Orf73 antigens. Seropositivity to KSHV was defined as positive to either lytic KSHV K8.1 or latent KSHV Orf73 antibodies. KSHV viremia was determined by quantitative PCR and CD3, 4 and 8 lymphocyte counts were determined with flow cytometry. Of the 404 participants, 193 (48%) tested positive for KSHV at ART initiation; with 76 (39%) reactive to lytic K8.1, 35 (18%) to latent Orf73 and 82 (42%) to both. One individual presented with clinical KS at ART initiation. The KSHV infected group was similar to those without KSHV in terms of age, race, gender, ethnicity, smoking and alcohol use. KSHV infected individuals presented with slightly higher median CD3 (817 vs. 726 cells/mm3) and CD4 (90 vs. 80 cells/mm3) counts than KSHV negative subjects. We found no associations between KSHV seropositivity and body mass index, tuberculosis status, WHO stage, HIV RNA levels, full blood count or liver function tests at initiation. Those with detectable KSHV viremia (n = 19), however, appeared to present with signs of more advanced HIV disease including anemia and WHO stage 3 or 4 defining conditions compared to those in whom the virus was undetectable.
We demonstrate a high prevalence of KSHV among HIV-infected adults initiating ART in a large urban public-sector HIV clinic. KSHV viremia but not KSHV seropositivity may be associated with markers of advanced HIV disease.
Kaposi sarcoma; Kaposi sarcoma herpes virus; resource-poor setting; antiretroviral therapy
We recently identified polymorphisms in KSHV encoded microRNA (miRNA) sequences from clinical subjects. Here, we examine whether any of these may contribute to KS risk in a European AIDS-KS case control study.
KSHV viral load in peripheral blood was determined by real-time quantitative PCR. Samples that had detectable viral loads were used to amplify the 2.8 kbp microRNA encoding region plus a 646 bp fragment of the K12/T0.7 gene. Additionally, we characterized an 840 bp fragment of the K1 gene to determine KSHV subtypes.
KSHV viral DNA was detected in PBMC of 49.6% cases and 6.8% controls and viral loads tended to be higher in cases. Sequences from the miRNA encoding regions were conserved overall but distinct polymorphisms were detected some of which occurred in pri-miRNAs, pre-miRNAs or mature miRNAs.
Patients with Kaposi’s sarcoma were more likely to have detectable viral loads than controls without disease. Despite high conservation in KSHV miRNA encoded sequences, polymorphisms were observed including some that have been previously reported. Some polymorphisms could affect mature miRNA processing and appear to be associated with KS risk.
Immune modulation by parasites may influence susceptibility to bacteria and viruses. We examined the association between current parasite infections, HIV and syphilis (measured in blood or stool samples using standard methods) and antibodies against Kaposi's sarcoma herpesvirus (KSHV), measured by ELISA, in 1915 stored plasma samples from pregnant women in Entebbe, Uganda.
Seroprevalence of KSHV was higher in women with malaria parasitaemia (73% vs 60% p = 0.01), hookworm (67% vs 56% p = 0.001) and Mansonella perstans (69% vs 59% p = 0.05); seroprevalence increased with increasing intensity of hookworm infection (p < 0.001[trend]). No associations were found for HIV, five other parasites or active syphilis. These effects were not explained by socioeconomic status or education.
Specific parasite infections are associated with presence of antibodies against KSHV, perhaps mediated via their effect on immune function.
Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is the causal agent for Kaposi sarcoma (KS) and multicentric Castleman disease (MCD) in HIV-infected patients. Patients with KSHV-MCD develop fevers, wasting, hypoalbuminemia, cytopenias, and hyponatremia that are related to overproduction of KSHV-encoded vial interleukin (IL)-6 (vIL-6) and human IL-6.
We identified 6 HIV-infected patients with KS or serological evidence of KSHV infection who had severe inflammatory MCD-like symptoms but in whom we could not diagnose MCD, and hypothesized that these symptoms resulted from vIL-6 overproduction. Serum vIL-6 levels were assessed in these 6 patients and compared to 8 control patients with symptomatic KSHV-MCD and 32 control patients with KS. KSHV viral load, serum human IL-6 (hIL-6), and human IL-10 were also evaluated.
Patients with inflammatory MCD-like symptoms but without MCD had elevated vIL-6 levels comparable to patients with symptomatic KSHV-MCD and significantly greater than control patients with KS (P = 0.0026). Elevated hIL-6, IL-10, and KSHV viral loads were also comparable to patients with symptomatic KSHV-MCD and significantly greater than those with KS.
A subset of patients with HIV and KSHV co-infection, but without MCD, can develop severe systemic inflammatory symptoms associated with elevated levels of KSHV vIL-6, IL-6, and KSHV viral loads. Excess lytic activation of KSHV, production of the lytic gene product vIL6, and associated immunologic dysregulation may underlie the pathophysiology of these symptoms. This IL-6-related inflammatory syndrome is important to consider in critically ill patients with HIV and KSHV co-infection.
viral interleukin-6; human herpesvirus 8; Kaposi sarcoma; multicentric Castleman disease; interleukin-6
This study represents a multiplex cytokine analysis of serum from a 10-month randomized, controlled trial of 238 subjects that investigated the effects of selenomethionine and/or celecoxib in subjects with mild or moderate esophageal squamous dysplasia. The original chemoprevention study found that among those with mild dysplasia, selenomethionine treatment favorably altered dysplasia grade. The current analysis found that selenomethionine down-regulated IL-2 by 9% (p=0.04), while celecoxib down-regulated IL-7 by 11% (p=0.006) and up-regulated IL-13 by 17% (p=0.008). In addition, an increase in IL-7 tertile from baseline to t10 was significantly associated with an increase in dysplasia grade, both overall (OR=1.47, p=0.03) and among those with mild dysplasia at t0 (OR=2.53 p=0.001). An increase in IL-2 tertile from baseline to t10 was also non-significantly associated with worsening dysplasia for all participants (OR=1.32 p=0.098), and significantly associated with worsening dysplasia among those with mild dysplasia at baseline (OR=2.0 p=0.01). The association of increased IL-2 with worsening dysplasia remained significant in those on selenomethionine treatment who began the trial with mild dysplasia (OR=2.52 p=0.03). The current study shows that selenomethionine supplementation decreased serum IL-2 levels, while celecoxib treatment decreased IL-7 levels and increased IL-13 levels during a 10 month randomized chemoprevention trial. An increase in IL-2 or IL-7 was associated with increased severity of dysplasia over the course of the trial, especially in those who began the trial with mild dysplasia. The favorable effect of selenomethionine on esophageal dysplasia in the original trial may have been mediated in part by its effect on reducing levels of IL-2.
chemoprevention; interleukin-2; preneoplasia; gastrointestinal tract; selenium
Detection of antibodies to Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV or Human Herpesvirus 8) is a topic of ongoing controversy. KSHV expresses multiple antigens and host responses are highly variable. We have previously described and algorithm for determining KSHV infection based on K8.1 ELISA and LANA Immunofluorescence assay (IFA). Here we describe the development of a recombinant ELISA for LANA and an improved testing strategy using ELISAs for LANA and K8.1. We assessed mammalian and baculovirus expression systems for the production of full length recombinant LANA. We evaluated the performance of LANA ELISAs using human serum samples from several sources including blood donors and clinical patients diagnosed with Kaposi’s sarcoma and compared them to LANA IFA. Both LANA ELISAs exhibited comparable sensitivity and specificity to LANA IFA but showed considerably greater reliability. The LANA ELISA can thus be used in conjunction with the previously described K8.1 ELISA to enable the highly sensitive and specific detection of antibodies to KSHV. Use of this testing strategy will provide a more accurate and reliable diagnostic assessment of KSHV status.
KSHV serology; ELISA; LANA; K8.1
Factors previously associated with Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) transmission in Africa include sexual, familial, and proximity to river water. We measured the seroprevalence of KSHV in relation to HIV, syphilis, and demographic factors among pregnant women attending public antenatal clinics in the Gauteng province of South Africa.
We tested for antibodies to KSHV lytic K8.1 and latent Orf73 antigens in 1740 pregnant women attending antenatal clinics who contributed blood to the "National HIV and Syphilis Sero-Prevalence Survey - South Africa, 2001". Information on HIV and syphilis serology, age, education, residential area, gravidity, and parity was anonymously linked to evaluate risk factors for KSHV seropositivity. Clinics were grouped by municipality regions and their proximity to the two main river catchments defined.
KSHV seropositivity (reactive to either lytic K8.1 and latent Orf73) was nearly twice that of HIV (44.6% vs. 23.1%). HIV and syphilis seropositivity was 12.7% and 14.9% in women without KSHV, and 36.1% and 19.9% respectively in those with KSHV. Women who are KSHV seropositive were 4 times more likely to be HIV positive than those who were KSHV seronegative (AOR 4.1 95%CI: 3.4 - 5.7). Although, women with HIV infection were more likely to be syphilis seropositive (AOR 1.8 95%CI: 1.3 - 2.4), no association between KSHV and syphilis seropositivity was observed. Those with higher levels of education had lower levels of KSHV seropositivity compared to those with lower education levels. KSHV seropositivity showed a heterogeneous pattern of prevalence in some localities.
The association between KSHV and HIV seropositivity and a lack of common association with syphilis, suggests that KSHV transmission may involve geographical and cultural factors other than sexual transmission.