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1.  Insulin Sensitivity and Variability in Hepatitis C Virus Infection Using Direct Measurement 
Digestive diseases and sciences  2012;58(4):1141-1148.
Background & Aims
Studies investigating insulin resistance (IR) in chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection have used surrogate measures of IR that have limited reliability. We aimed to describe the distribution and risk factors associated with IR and its change over time in HCV using direct measurement.
Methods
One hundred and two non-cirrhotic, non-diabetic, HCV-infected subjects underwent clinical, histologic, and metabolic evaluation, and 27 completed repeat evaluation at 6 months. Insulin-mediated glucose uptake was measured by steady-state plasma glucose (SSPG) concentration during the insulin suppression test.
Results
Three subjects with diabetes were excluded and 95 completed all testing. SSPG ranged from 39 to 328 mg/dL (mean 135 mg/dL) and was stable over time (mean SSPG change -0.3 mg/dL). SSPG was associated with Latino ethnicity (Coef 67, 95%CI 37-96), BMI (Coef 19 per 5 kg/m2, 95%CI 5-32), ferritin (Coef 1.4 per 10 ng/ml, 95%CI 0.2-2.5), male gender (Coef -48, 95%CI -80 to -16), and HDL (Coef -16, 95%CI -28 to -5 mg/dL). Current tobacco use (Coef 55, 95%CI 19-90), steatosis (Coef -44, 95%CI -86 to -3), and increases in BMI (Coef 30 per 5 kg/m2, 95%CI 6-53) and triglyceride (Coef 3.5 per 10 mg/dL, 95%CI 0.3-6.7) predicted change in SSPG.
Conclusions
There was a wide spectrum of insulin resistance in our HCV population. Host factors, rather than viral factors, appeared to more greatly influence insulin action and its change in HCV.
doi:10.1007/s10620-012-2438-3
PMCID: PMC3566265  PMID: 23086116
Diabetes; HCV; Insulin Resistance; Oral Glucose Tolerance Test
2.  Risk Factors and Outcomes in Transfusion-associated Circulatory Overload 
The American journal of medicine  2013;126(4):357.e29-357.e38.
BACKGROUND
Transfusion-associated circulatory overload is characterized by new respiratory distress and hydrostatic pulmonary edema within 6 hours after blood transfusion, but its risk factors and outcomes are poorly characterized.
METHODS
Using a case control design, we enrolled 83 patients with severe transfusion-associated circulatory overload identified by active surveillance for hypoxemia and 163 transfused controls at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minn) hospitals. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated using multivariable logistic regression, and survival and length of stay were analyzed using proportional hazard models.
RESULTS
Transfusion-associated circulatory overload was associated with chronic renal failure (OR 27.0; 95% CI, 5.2–143), a past history of heart failure (OR 6.6; 95% CI, 2.1–21), hemorrhagic shock (OR 113; 95% CI, 14.1–903), number of blood products transfused (OR 1.11 per unit; 95% CI, 1.01–1.22), and fluid balance per hour (OR 9.4 per liter; 95% CI, 3.1–28). Patients with transfusion-associated circulatory overload had significantly increased in-hospital mortality (hazard ratio 3.20; 95% CI, 1.23–8.10) after controlling for Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation-II (APACHE-II) score, and longer hospital and intensive care unit lengths of stay.
CONCLUSIONS
The risk of transfusion-associated circulatory overload increases with the number of blood products administered and a positive fluid balance, and in patients with pre-existing heart failure and chronic renal failure. These data, if replicated, could be used to construct predictive algorithms for transfusion-associated circulatory overload, and subsequent modifications of transfusion practice might prevent morbidity and mortality associated with this complication.
doi:10.1016/j.amjmed.2012.08.019
PMCID: PMC3652681  PMID: 23357450
Blood transfusion; Morbidity; Mortality; Pulmonary edema; Risk factors
3.  Targeting of Conserved Gag-Epitopes in Early HIV Infection Is Associated with Lower Plasma Viral Load and Slower CD4+ T Cell Depletion 
Abstract
We aimed to investigate whether the character of the immunodominant HIV-Gag peptide (variable or conserved) targeted by CD8+ T cells in early HIV infection would influence the quality and quantity of T cell responses, and whether this would affect the rate of disease progression. Treatment-naive HIV-infected study subjects within the OPTIONS cohort at the University of California, San Francisco, were monitored from an estimated 44 days postinfection for up to 6 years. CD8+ T cells responses targeting HLA-matched HIV-Gag-epitopes were identified and characterized by multicolor flow cytometry. The autologous HIV gag sequences were obtained. We demonstrate that patients targeting a conserved HIV-Gag-epitope in early infection maintained their epitope-specific CD8+ T cell response throughout the study period. Patients targeting a variable epitope showed decreased immune responses over time, although there was no limitation of the functional profile, and they were likely to target additional variable epitopes. Maintained immune responses to conserved epitopes were associated with no or limited sequence evolution within the targeted epitope. Patients with immune responses targeting conserved epitopes had a significantly lower median viral load over time compared to patients with responses targeting a variable epitope (0.63 log10 difference). Furthermore, the rate of CD4+ T cell decline was slower for subjects targeting a conserved epitope (0.85% per month) compared to subjects targeting a variable epitope (1.85% per month). Previous studies have shown that targeting of antigens based on specific HLA types is associated with a better disease course. In this study we show that categorizing epitopes based on their variability is associated with clinical outcome.
doi:10.1089/aid.2012.0171
PMCID: PMC3581067  PMID: 23140171
4.  Decreased limb muscle and increased central adiposity are associated with 5-year all-cause mortality in HIV infection 
AIDS (London, England)  2011;25(11):1405-1414.
Background
Unintentional loss of weight and muscle due to aging and disease has been associated with increased mortality. Wasting and weight loss occur in HIV infection even in the modern era of effective antiretroviral therapy.
Methods
We determined the association of MRI-measured regional and total skeletal muscle and adipose tissue with 5-year, all-cause mortality in 922 HIV-infected persons in the study of Fat Redistribution and Metabolic Change in HIV Infection (FRAM).
Results
After 5 years of follow-up, HIV-infected participants with arm skeletal muscle in the lowest tertile had a mortality rate of 23%, compared with 11 and 8% for those in the middle and highest tertiles. After multivariable adjustment for demographics, cardiovascular risk factors, HIV-related factors, inflammatory markers, and renal disease, we found that lower arm skeletal muscle, lower leg skeletal muscle and higher visceral adipose tissue (VAT) were each independently associated with increased mortality. Those in the lowest tertile of arm or leg skeletal muscle had higher odds of death [arm: odds ratio (OR)=2.0, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.96–4.0; leg: OR=2.4, 95% CI 1.2–4.8] compared with the highest respective tertiles. Those in the highest tertile of VAT had 2.1-fold higher odds of death (95% CI 1.1–4.0) compared with the lowest VAT tertile.
Conclusion
Lower muscle mass and central adiposity appear to be important risk factors for mortality in HIV-infected individuals. A substantial proportion of this risk may be unrecognized because of the current reliance on body mass index in clinical practice.
doi:10.1097/QAD.0b013e32834884e6
PMCID: PMC3933309  PMID: 21572308
body composition; cachexia; fat redistribution; HIV infection; lipoatrophy; lipodystrophy; mortality; sarcopenia
5.  Strong Relationship between Oral Dose and Tenofovir Hair Levels in a Randomized Trial: Hair as a Potential Adherence Measure for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e83736.
Background
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) trials using tenofovir-based regimens have demonstrated that high levels of adherence are required to evaluate efficacy; the incorporation of objective biomarkers of adherence in trial design has been essential to interpretation, given the inaccuracy of self-report. Antiretroviral measurements in scalp hair have been useful as a marker of long-term exposure in the HIV treatment setting, and hair samples are relatively easy and inexpensive to collect, transport, and store for analysis. To evaluate the relationship between dose and tenofovir concentrations in hair, we examined the dose proportionality of tenofovir in hair in healthy, HIV-uninfected adults.
Methods
A phase I, crossover pharmacokinetic study was performed in 24 HIV-negative adults receiving directly-observed oral tenofovir tablets administered 2, 4, and 7 doses/week for 6 weeks, with a ≥3-week break between periods. Small samples of hair were collected after each six-week period and analyzed for tenofovir concentrations. Geometric-mean-ratios compared levels between each pair of dosing conditions. Intensive plasma pharmacokinetic studies were performed during the daily-dosing period to calculate areas-under-the-time-concentration curves (AUCs).
Results
Over 90% of doses were observed per protocol. Median tenofovir concentrations in hair increased monotonically with dose. A log-linear relationship was seen between dose and hair levels, with an estimated 76% (95% CI 60–93%) increase in hair level per 2-fold dose increase. Tenofovir plasma AUCs modestly predicted drug concentrations in hair.
Conclusions
This study found a strong linear relationship between frequency of dosing and tenofovir levels in scalp hair. The analysis of quantitative drug levels in hair has the potential to improve adherence measurement in the PrEP field and may be helpful in determining exposure thresholds for protection and explaining failures in PrEP trials. Hair measures for adherence monitoring may also facilitate adherence measurement in real-world settings and merit further investigation in upcoming PrEP implementation studies and programs.
Trial Registration
ClinicalTrials.gov +NCT00903084.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0083736
PMCID: PMC3885443  PMID: 24421901
6.  Lower Liver-Related Death in African American Women With HIV/HCV Co-Infection Compared to Caucasian and Hispanic Women 
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)  2012;56(5):1699-1705.
Among individuals with and without concurrent human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), racial/ethnic differences in the natural history of hepatitis C virus (HCV) have been described. African-Americans have lower spontaneous HCV clearance than Caucasians, yet slower rates of liver fibrosis once chronically infected. It is not clear how these differences in the natural history of hepatitis C affect mortality, in either HIV positive or negative individuals. We conducted a cohort study of HIV/HCV co-infected women followed in the multicenter, NIH-funded Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) to determine the association of self-reported race/ethnicity with all-cause and liver-related mortality. Survival analyses were performed using Cox proportional hazards models. The eligible cohort (n=794) included 140 Caucasians, 159 Hispanics, and 495 African Americans. There were 438 deaths and 49 liver-related deaths during a median follow-up of 8.9 years and maximum follow-up of 16 years. African American co-infected women had significantly lower liver-related mortality compared to Caucasian (HR 0.41 95% CI 0.19–0.88, p=0.022) and Hispanic co-infected women (HR 0.38 95% CI 0.19–0.76, p=0.006). All-cause mortality was similar between racial/ethnic groups (HRs for all comparisons 0.82–1.03, logrank p=0.8).
Conclusions
African American co-infected women were much less likely to die from liver disease as compared to Caucasians and Hispanics, independent of other causes of death. Future studies are needed to investigate the reasons for this marked racial/ethnic discrepancy in liver-related mortality.
doi:10.1002/hep.25859
PMCID: PMC3440547  PMID: 22618868
race; ethnicity; viral hepatitis; mortality; gender
7.  A Single-Nucleotide Polymorphism in CYP2B6 Leads to >3-Fold Increases in Efavirenz Concentrations in Plasma and Hair Among HIV-Infected Women 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2012;206(9):1453-1461.
Background. Efavirenz exhibits marked interindividual variability in plasma levels and toxicities. Prior pharmacogenetic studies usually measure exposure via single plasma levels, examine limited numbers of polymorphisms, and rarely model multiple contributors. We analyzed numerous genetic and nongenetic factors impacting short-term and long-term exposure in a large heterogeneous population of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–infected women.
Methods. We performed 24-hour intensive pharmacokinetic studies in 111 women receiving efavirenz under actual-use conditions and calculated the area-under-the-concentration-time curve (AUC) to assess short-term exposure; the efavirenz concentration in hair was measured to estimate long-term exposure. A total of 182 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and 45 haplotypes in 9 genes were analyzed in relationship to exposure by use of multivariate models that included a number of nongenetic factors.
Results. Efavirenz AUCs increased 1.26-fold per doubling of the alanine aminotransferase level and 1.23-fold with orange and/or orange juice consumption. Individuals with the CYP2B6 516TT genotype displayed 3.5-fold increases in AUCs and 3.2-fold increases in hair concentrations, compared with individuals with the TG/GG genotype. Another SNP in CYP2B6 (983TT) and a p-glycoprotein haplotype affected AUCs without substantially altering long-term exposure.
Conclusions. This comprehensive pharmacogenomics study showed that individuals with the CYP2B6 516TT genotype displayed >3-fold increases in both short-term and long-term efavirenz exposure, signifying durable effects. Pharmacogenetic testing combined with monitoring of hair levels may improve efavirenz outcomes and reduce toxicities.
doi:10.1093/infdis/jis508
PMCID: PMC3466997  PMID: 22927450
8.  Association of Multiple Sclerosis Susceptibility Variants and Early Attack Location in the CNS 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e75565.
Objective
The anatomic location of subsequent relapses in early multiple sclerosis (MS) appears to be predicted by the first attack location. We sought to determine if genetic polymorphisms associated with MS susceptibility are associated with attack location.
Methods
17 genome-wide association study-identified MS susceptibility polymorphisms were genotyped in 503 white, non-Hispanic patients seen within a year of MS onset. Their association with the CNS location of the first two MS attacks was assessed in multivariate repeated measures analyses (generalized estimating equations with robust standard errors).
Results
The IL12A polymorphism was independently associated with increased odds of attacks involving the spinal cord (OR = 1.52, 95% CI 1.11, 2.07, p = 0.009), as was the IRF8 polymorphism (OR = 2.40, 95% CI [1.04, 5.50], p = 0.040). The IL7R polymorphism was associated with reduced odds of attacks involving the brainstem/cerebellum (OR = 0.46, 95% CI 0.22, 0.97, p = 0.041), as were the TNFRSF1A and IL12A polymorphisms. The CD6 polymorphism conferred reduced odds of optic neuritis as an attack location (OR = 0.69, 95% CI [0.49, 0.97], p = 0.034). Several other genes showed trends for association with attack location.
Conclusions
Some of the MS susceptibility genes may be associated with MS attack location. The IL12A polymorphism is of particular interest given that interferon beta therapy appears to influence IL12 levels. These findings may lead to improved understanding of MS pathogenesis and treatment.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0075565
PMCID: PMC3794979  PMID: 24130718
9.  Prospective Antiretroviral Treatment of Asymptomatic, HIV-1 Infected Controllers 
PLoS Pathogens  2013;9(10):e1003691.
The study of HIV-infected “controllers” who are able to maintain low levels of plasma HIV RNA in the absence of antiretroviral therapy (ART) may provide insights for HIV cure and vaccine strategies. Despite maintaining very low levels of plasma viremia, controllers have elevated immune activation and accelerated atherosclerosis. However, the degree to which low-level replication contributes to these phenomena is not known. Sixteen asymptomatic controllers were prospectively treated with ART for 24 weeks. Controllers had a statistically significant decrease in ultrasensitive plasma and rectal HIV RNA levels with ART. Markers of T cell activation/dysfunction in blood and gut mucosa also decreased substantially with ART. Similar reductions were observed in the subset of “elite” controllers with pre-ART plasma HIV RNA levels below conventional assays (<40 copies/mL). These data confirm that HIV replication persists in controllers and contributes to a chronic inflammatory state. ART should be considered for these individuals (ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01025427).
Author Summary
HIV-infected “controllers” are rare individuals who are HIV-seropositive but are able to maintain low levels of plasma HIV RNA in the absence of antiretroviral therapy (ART). There has been intense interest in characterizing these unique individuals because they have been considered as a potential model for a “functional cure” of HIV. Previously, our group has shown that controllers have elevated levels of T cell activation and accelerated atherosclerosis, suggesting that very low levels of viral replication may lead to disproportionately high levels of immune activation. However, the degree to which viral replication contributes to these outcomes is not known. We therefore conducted the first, prospective study of ART initiation in a cohort of asymptomatic HIV-infected controllers, in order to determine the virologic and immunologic effects of treating controllers with ART. Controllers had a significant decreases in ultrasensitive plasma HIV RNA, rectal HIV RNA, and markers of T cell activation/dysfunction in blood and gut mucosa with ART. Similar reductions were observed in the subset of “elite” controllers with extremely low pre-ART plasma HIV RNA levels (<40 copies/mL). These data suggest that HIV replication persists in controllers and contributes to a chronic inflammatory state.
doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1003691
PMCID: PMC3795031  PMID: 24130489
10.  Multiple Sclerosis Susceptibility Genes: Associations with Relapse Severity and Recovery 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e75416.
Objective
Patients with early multiple sclerosis (MS) have stereotyped attack severity and recovery. We sought to determine if polymorphisms in MS susceptibility genes are associated with these attack features or with the risk of a second attack.
Methods
503 white subjects evaluated within a year of MS onset were included in the study. The severity of and recovery from the first two attacks were determined based on published definitions. Seventeen MS susceptibility genes were genotyped at the UCSF MS Genetics laboratory. Each polymorphism was evaluated in multivariate ordinal models, adjusted for the other polymorphisms, for its association with attack severity and recovery. We also assessed if these polymorphisms were associated with increased risk of a second attack.
Results
The MPHOSPH9 polymorphism was associated with greater attack severity (odds ratios [OR] = 1.47, 95% CI [1.11, 1.94], p = 0.008), while the RGS1 and TNFRSF1A polymorphisms tended to be associated with reduced attack severity. The CD6 polymorphism tended to be associated with increased odds of worse attack recovery (OR = 1.25, 95% CI [0.93, 1.68], p = 0.13). In those who were HLA-DRB1-negative, the EVI5 polymorphism was associated with attacks of less severity; in HLA-DRB1 positive patients, EVI5 was associated with attacks of greater severity and worse recovery. The IL7R, TNFRSF1A, and GPC5 polymorphisms tended to be associated with having a second event within a year.
Conclusions
Some MS susceptibility polymorphisms may be associated with attack severity, recovery, or frequency. Further characterization of these genes may lead to a better understanding of MS pathogenesis and to a more individualized treatment approach.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0075416
PMCID: PMC3793991  PMID: 24130709
11.  Intermuscular Adipose Tissue and Metabolic Associations in HIV Infection 
Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)  2010;19(2):283-291.
Intermuscular adipose tissue (IMAT) is associated with metabolic abnormalities similar to those associated with visceral adipose tissue (VAT). Increased IMAT has been found in obese human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected women. We hypothesized that IMAT, like VAT, would be similar or increased in HIV-infected persons compared with healthy controls, despite decreases in subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) found in HIV infection. In the second FRAM (Study of Fat Redistribution and Metabolic Change in HIV infection) exam, we studied 425 HIV-infected subjects and 211 controls (from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study) who had regional AT and skeletal muscle (SM) measured by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Multivariable linear regression identified factors associated with IMAT and its association with metabolites. Total IMAT was 51% lower in HIV-infected participants compared with controls (P = 0.003). The HIV effect was attenuated after multivariable adjustment (to −28%, P < 0.0001 in men and −3.6%, P = 0.70 in women). Higher quantities of leg SAT, upper-trunk SAT, and VAT were associated with higher IMAT in HIV-infected participants, with weaker associations in controls. Stavudine use was associated with lower IMAT and SAT, but showed little relationship with VAT. In multivariable analyses, regional IMAT was associated with insulin resistance and triglycerides (TGs). Contrary to expectation, IMAT is not increased in HIV infection; after controlling for demographics, lifestyle, VAT, SAT, and SM, HIV+ men have lower IMAT compared with controls, whereas values for women are similar. Stavudine exposure is associated with both decreased IMAT and SAT, suggesting that IMAT shares cellular origins with SAT.
doi:10.1038/oby.2010.115
PMCID: PMC3731045  PMID: 20539305
12.  HIV viremia and changes in kidney function 
AIDS (London, England)  2009;23(9):1089-1096.
Objective
To evaluate the effect of HIV infection on longitudinal changes in kidney function and to identify independent predictors of kidney function changes in HIV-infected individuals.
Design
A prospective cohort.
Methods
Cystatin C was measured at baseline and at the 5-year follow-up visit of the Study of Fat Redistribution and Metabolic Change in HIV infection in 554 HIV-infected participants and 230 controls. Control participants were obtained from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study. Glomerular filtration rate (eGFRcys) was estimated using the formula 76.7 × cysC−1.19.
Results
Compared with controls, HIV-infected participants had a greater proportion of clinical decliners (annual decrease in eGFRcys > 3 ml/min per 1.73 m2; 18 versus 13%, P=0.002) and clinical improvers (annual increase in eGFRcys > 3 ml/min per 1.73 m2; 26 versus 6%, P< 0.0001). After multivariable adjustment, HIV infection was associated with higher odds of both clinical decline (odds ratio 2.2; 95% confidence interval 1.3, 3.9, P = 0.004) and clinical improvement (odds ratio 7.3; 95% confidence interval 3.9, 13.6, P ≤ 0.0001). Among HIV-infected participants, a decrease in HIV viral load during follow-up was independently associated with clinical improvement; conversely, higher baseline and an increase in viral load during follow-up were associated with clinical decline. No individual antiretroviral drug or drug class appeared to be substantially associated with clinical decline or improvement.
Conclusion
Compared with controls, HIV-infected persons were more likely both to have clinical decline and clinical improvement in kidney function during 5 years of follow-up. The extent of viremic control had a strong association with longitudinal changes in kidney function.
doi:10.1097/QAD.0b013e32832a3f24
PMCID: PMC3725756  PMID: 19352136
cystatin C; glomerular filtration rate; HIV; kidney; viral load
13.  Cortisol Patterns Are Associated with T Cell Activation in HIV 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e63429.
Objective
The level of T cell activation in untreated HIV disease is strongly and independently associated with risk of immunologic and clinical progression. The factors that influence the level of activation, however, are not fully defined. Since endogenous glucocorticoids are important in regulating inflammation, we sought to determine whether less optimal diurnal cortisol patterns are associated with greater T cell activation.
Methods
We studied 128 HIV-infected adults who were not on treatment and had a CD4+ T cell count above 250 cells/µl. We assessed T cell activation by CD38 expression using flow cytometry, and diurnal cortisol was assessed with salivary measurements.
Results
Lower waking cortisol levels correlated with greater T cell immune activation, measured by CD38 mean fluorescent intensity, on CD4+ T cells (r = −0.26, p = 0.006). Participants with lower waking cortisol also showed a trend toward greater activation on CD8+ T cells (r = −0.17, p = 0.08). A greater diurnal decline in cortisol, usually considered a healthy pattern, correlated with less CD4+ (r = 0.24, p = 0.018) and CD8+ (r = 0.24, p = 0.017) activation.
Conclusions
These data suggest that the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis contributes to the regulation of T cell activation in HIV. This may represent an important pathway through which psychological states and the HPA axis influence progression of HIV.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0063429
PMCID: PMC3724863  PMID: 23922644
14.  Rituximab in Relapsing and Progressive Forms of Multiple Sclerosis: A Systematic Review 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e66308.
Background
Rituximab is an anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody approved for non Hodgkin lymphoma and rheumatoid arthritis. It is being considered for the treatment of MS.
Objectives
To evaluate the efficacy and safety of rituximab for MS treatment.
Data collection
Studies were selected if they were clinical trials, irrespective of the dosage or combination therapies.
Main results
Four studies with a total of 599 patients were included. One assessed the efficacy of rituximab for primary progressive (PP) MS while the other three focused on relapsing-remitting (RR) MS. In the PPMS study, rituximab delayed time to confirmed disease progression (CDP) in pre-planned sub-group analyses. The increase in T2 lesion volume was lower in the rituximab group at week 96 compared with placebo. For the RRMS studies, an open-label phase I study found that rituximab reduced the annualized relapse rate to 0.25 from pre-therapy baseline to week 24, while in the randomized placebo-controlled phase II trial, annualized relapse rates were 0.37 in the rituximab group and 0.84 in the placebo group (p = 0.04) at week 24. Rituximab dramatically reduced the number of gadolinium-enhancing lesions on brain MRI scans for both RRMS studies. Off-label rituximab as an add-on therapy in patients with breakthrough disease on first-line agents was associated with an 88% reduction when comparing the mean number of gadolinium-enhancing lesions prior to and after the treatment. Although frequent adverse events classified as mild or moderate occurred in up to 77% of the patients, there were no grade 4 infusion-related adverse events.
Author’s conclusion
Despite the frequent mild/moderate adverse events related to the drug, rituximab appears overall safe for up to 2 years of therapy and has a substantial impact on the inflammatory disease activity (clinical and/or radiological) of RRMS. The effect of rituximab on disease progression in PPMS appears to be marginal.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0066308
PMCID: PMC3699597  PMID: 23843952
15.  Hematopoietic Precursor Cells Isolated From Patients on Long-term Suppressive HIV Therapy Did Not Contain HIV-1 DNA 
Background. We address the key emerging question of whether Lin−/CD34+ hematopoietic precursor cells (HPCs) represent an important latent reservoir of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) during long-term suppressive therapy.
Methods. To estimate the frequency of HIV-1 infection in bone marrow, we sorted Lin−/CD34+ HPCs and 3 other cell types (Lin−/CD34−, Lin−/CD4+, and Lin+/CD4+) from 8 patients who had undetectable viral loads for 3–12 years. Using a single-proviral sequencing method, we extracted, amplified, and sequenced multiple single HIV-1 DNA molecules from these cells and memory CD4+ T cells from contemporaneous peripheral blood samples.
Results. We analyzed 100 000–870 000 bone marrow Lin−/CD34+ HPCs from the 8 patients and found no HIV-1 DNA. We did isolate HIV-1 DNA from their bone marrow Lin+/CD4+ cells that was genetically similar to HIV-1 DNA from lymphoid cells located in the peripheral blood, indicating an exchange of infected cells between these compartments.
Conclusions. The absence of infected HPCs provides strong evidence that the HIV-1 infection frequency of Lin−/CD34+ HPCs from bone marrow, if it occurred, was <.003% (highest upper 95% confidence interval) in all 8 patients. These results strongly suggest that Lin−/CD34+ HPCs in bone marrow are not a source of persistent HIV-1 in patients on long-term suppressive therapy.
doi:10.1093/infdis/jis301
PMCID: PMC3415927  PMID: 22536001
16.  Racial/Ethnic Differences in Spontaneous HCV Clearance in HIV Infected and Uninfected Women 
Digestive diseases and sciences  2012;58(5):1341-1348.
Background/Aims
Among individuals without human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), African Americans have lower spontaneous clearance of hepatitis C virus (HCV) than Caucasians, and women have higher clearance than men. Few studies report racial/ethnic differences in acute HCV in HIV infected, or Hispanic women. We examined racial/ethnic differences in spontaneous HCV clearance in a population of HCV mono- and co-infected women.
Methods
We conducted a cross sectional study of HCV seropositive women (897 HIV infected and 168 HIV uninfected) followed in the US multicenter, NIH-funded Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS), to determine the association of race/ethnicity with spontaneous HCV clearance, as defined by undetectable HCV RNA at study entry.
Results
Among HIV and HCV seropositive women, 18.7 % were HCV RNA negative, 60.9 % were African American, 19.3 % Hispanic and 17.7 % Caucasian. HIV infected African American women were less likely to spontaneously clear HCV than Hispanic (OR 0.59, 95 % CI 0.38–0.93, p = 0.022) or Caucasian women (OR 0.57, 95 % CI 0.36–0.93, p = 0.023). Among HIV uninfected women, African Americans had less HCV clearance than Hispanics (OR 0.18, 95 % CI 0.07–0.48, p = 0.001) or Caucasians (OR 0.26, 95 % CI 0.09–0.79, p = 0.017). There were no significant differences in HCV clearance between Hispanics and Caucasians, among either HIV infected (OR 0.97, 95 % CI 0.57–1.66, p = 0.91) or uninfected (OR 1.45, 95 % CI 0.56–3.8, p = 0.45) women.
Conclusions
African Americans were less likely to spontaneously clear HCV than Hispanics or Caucasians, regardless of HIV status. No significant differences in spontaneous HCV clearance were observed between Caucasian and Hispanic women. Future studies incorporating IL28B genotype may further explain these observed racial/ethnic differences in spontaneous HCV clearance.
doi:10.1007/s10620-012-2486-8
PMCID: PMC3663918  PMID: 23179159
African American; Hispanic; Acute hepatitis C; Female
17.  Impact of Insulin Resistance on HCV Treatment Response and Impact of HCV Treatment on Insulin Sensitivity Using Direct Measurements of Insulin Action 
Diabetes Care  2012;35(5):1090-1094.
OBJECTIVE
Insulin resistance, as measured by surrogate markers, is associated with lower response to hepatitis C virus (HCV) therapy and may improve with HCV eradication. We prospectively evaluated the impact of directly measured insulin resistance and abnormal glucose metabolism on achieving sustained virologic response (SVR) with HCV therapy and assessed whether SVR results in improved insulin sensitivity and fasting glucose.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
A total of 50 noncirrhotic, nondiabetic, HCV-infected patients (27 untreated, 23 treated with pegylated interferon/ribavirin, nonrandomized) underwent clinical and histologic evaluation and 75-g oral glucose tolerance test. Insulin sensitivity was assessed directly with insulin suppression test by measuring steady-state plasma glucose (SSPG) concentration during a 240-min infusion of octreotide, glucose, and insulin. Of the subjects, 43 had at least one follow-up evaluation.
RESULTS
Patient characteristics were median age 48, 57% male, and 52% white. SVR was achieved in 61% (14 of 23) of treated subjects. SVR was independently associated with HCV genotypes 2 and 3 (odds ratio 8.8 [95% CI 1.2–61.7]) but was not strongly associated with insulin sensitivity. When controlling for elapsed time between measurements, being on interferon, and BMI, SSPG decreased by 36 mg/dL (−88 to 16) in those with SVR and decreased by 28 mg/dL (−93 to 38) in those without SVR, compared with the untreated group. BMI (coefficient 9.1 per 5 units; 95% CI 5.3–12.9) and interferon use (coefficient 56; 95% CI 6.8–105) were associated with SSPG.
CONCLUSIONS
Insulin resistance does not appear to be strongly associated with SVR. HCV therapy may improve insulin resistance regardless of virologic response; however, BMI and interferon use were clearly associated with insulin resistance.
doi:10.2337/dc11-1837
PMCID: PMC3329815  PMID: 22399695
18.  Insulin Resistance and Cognition Among HIV-Infected and HIV-Uninfected Adult Women: The Women's Interagency HIV Study 
Abstract
Cognitive impairment remains prevalent in the era of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) and may be partially due to comorbidities. We postulated that insulin resistance (IR) is negatively associated with cognitive performance. We completed a cross-sectional analysis among 1547 (1201 HIV+) women enrolled in the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS). We evaluated the association of IR with cognitive measures among all WIHS women with concurrent fasting bloods and cognitive testing [Trails A, Trails B, and Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT)] using multiple linear regression models. A smaller subgroup also completed the Stroop test (n=1036). IR was estimated using the Homeostasis Model Assessment (HOMA). Higher HOMA was associated with poorer performance on the SDMT, Stroop Color-Naming (SCN) trial, and Stroop interference trial, but remained statistically significant only for the SCN in models adjusting for important factors [β=3.78 s (95% CI: 0.48–7.08), p=0.025, for highest vs. lowest quartile of HOMA]. HIV status did not appear to substantially impact the relationship of HOMA with SCN. There was a small but statistically significant association of HOMA and reduced neuropsychological performance on the SCN test in this cohort of women.
doi:10.1089/aid.2011.0159
PMCID: PMC3332367  PMID: 21878059
19.  Association of Increased Upper Trunk and Decreased Leg Fat With 2-h Glucose in Control and HIV-Infected Persons 
Diabetes Care  2011;34(11):2448-2453.
OBJECTIVE
Changes in body fat distribution and abnormal glucose metabolism are common in HIV-infected patients. We hypothesized that HIV-infected participants would have a higher prevalence of impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) compared with control subjects.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
A total of 491 HIV-infected and 187 control participants from the second examination of the Study of Fat Redistribution and Metabolic Change in HIV Infection (FRAM) underwent glucose tolerance testing (GTT). Multivariable regression was used to identify factors associated with GTT parameters.
RESULTS
The prevalence of impaired fasting glucose (IFG) (>110 mg/dL) was similar in HIV-infected and control participants (21 vs. 25%, P = 0.23). In those without IFG, the prevalence of IGT was slightly higher in HIV-infected participants compared with control subjects (13.1 vs. 8.2%, P = 0.14) and in HIV+ participants with lipoatrophy versus without (18.1 vs. 11.5%, P = 0.084). Diabetes detected by GTT was rare (HIV subjects 1.3% and control subjects 0%, P = 0.65). Mean 2-h glucose levels were 7.6 mg/dL higher in the HIV-infected participants (P = 0.012). Increased upper trunk subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) and decreased leg SAT were associated with 2-h glucose and IGT in both HIV-infected and control participants. Adjusting for adipose tissue reduced the estimated effects of HIV. Exercise, alcohol use, and current tenofovir use were associated with lower 2-h glucose levels in HIV-infected participants.
CONCLUSIONS
In HIV infection, increased upper trunk SAT and decreased leg SAT are associated with higher 2-h glucose. These body fat characteristics may identify HIV-infected patients with normal fasting glucose but nonetheless at increased risk for diabetes.
doi:10.2337/dc11-0616
PMCID: PMC3198295  PMID: 21926283
20.  Changes in stress, eating, and metabolic factors are related to changes in telomerase activity in a randomized mindfulness intervention pilot study 
Psychoneuroendocrinology  2011;37(7):917-928.
Summary
Background
Psychological distress and metabolic dysregulation are associated with markers of accelerated cellular aging, including reduced telomerase activity and shortened telomere length. We examined whether participation in a mindfulness-based intervention, and, secondarily, improvements in psychological distress, eating behavior, and metabolic factors are associated with increases in telomerase activity in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs).
Methods
We enrolled 47 overweight/obese women in a randomized waitlist-controlled pilot trial (n = 47) of a mindfulness-based intervention for stress eating and examined changes in telomerase activity from pre- to post-intervention. In secondary analyses, changes in telomerase activity across the sample were examined in relation to pre- to post-intervention changes in psychological distress, eating behavior, and metabolic factors (weight, serum cortisol, fasting glucose and insulin, and insulin resistance).
Results
Both groups increased in mean telomerase activity over 4 months in intent-to-treat and treatment efficacy analyses (p < 0.001). Nonsignificant trends showed that greater attendance was associated with increases in telomerase, and telomerase increases were 18% higher among ‘as treated’ participants compared to controls. Across groups, changes in chronic stress, anxiety, dietary restraint, dietary fat intake, cortisol, and glucose were negatively correlated with changes in telomerase activity. In exploratory analyses, decreases in dietary fat intake partially mediated the association between dietary restraint and telomerase activity with marginal significance.
Conclusions
While there was no clear effect of the intervention on telomerase activity, there was a striking pattern of correlations between improvements in psychological distress, eating behavior, and metabolic health and increases in telomerase activity. These findings suggest that telomerase activity may be in part regulated by levels of both psychological and metabolic stress.
doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2011.10.008
PMCID: PMC3384690  PMID: 22169588
Stress; Anxiety; Mindfulness; Dietary restraint; Telomerase; Cell aging; Cortisol
21.  Atazanavir Concentration in Hair Is the Strongest Predictor of Outcomes on Antiretroviral Therapy 
In a longitudinal study of outcomes on atazanavir-based therapy in a large cohort of HIV-infected women, hair levels of atazanavir were the strongest independent predictor of virologic suppression. Hair antiretroviral concentrations may serve as a useful tool in HIV care.
Background. Adequate exposure to antiretrovirals is important to maintain durable responses, but methods to assess exposure (eg, querying adherence and single plasma drug level measurements) are limited. Hair concentrations of antiretrovirals can integrate adherence and pharmacokinetics into a single assay.
Methods. Small hair samples were collected from participants in the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS), a large cohort of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected (and at-risk noninfected) women. From 2003 through 2008, we analyzed atazanavir hair concentrations longitudinally for women reporting receipt of atazanavir-based therapy. Multivariate random effects logistic regression models for repeated measures were used to estimate the association of hair drug levels with the primary outcome of virologic suppression (HIV RNA level, <80 copies/mL).
Results. 424 WIHS participants (51% African-American, 31% Hispanic) contributed 1443 person-visits to the analysis. After adjusting for age, race, treatment experience, pretreatment viral load, CD4 count and AIDS status, and self-reported adherence, hair levels were the strongest predictor of suppression. Categorized hair antiretroviral levels revealed a monotonic relationship to suppression; women with atazanavir levels in the highest quintile had odds ratios (ORs) of 59.8 (95% confidence ratio, 29.0–123.2) for virologic suppression. Hair atazanavir concentrations were even more strongly associated with resuppression of viral loads in subgroups in which there had been previous lapses in adherence (OR, 210.2 [95% CI, 46.0–961.1]), low hair levels (OR, 132.8 [95% CI, 26.5–666.0]), or detectable viremia (OR, 400.7 [95% CI, 52.3–3069.7]).
Conclusions. Antiretroviral hair levels surpassed any other predictor of virologic outcomes to HIV treatment in a large cohort. Low antiretroviral exposure in hair may trigger interventions prior to failure or herald virologic failure in settings where measurement of viral loads is unavailable. Monitoring hair antiretroviral concentrations may be useful for prolonging regimen durability.
doi:10.1093/cid/cir131
PMCID: PMC3079399  PMID: 21507924
22.  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
24.  Fetal Outcomes in Pregnancies Complicated by Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy in a Northern California Cohort 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e28343.
Background
Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP) has important fetal implications. There is increased risk for poor fetal outcomes, including preterm delivery, meconium staining of amniotic fluid, respiratory distress, fetal distress and demise.
Methods
One hundred and one women diagnosed with ICP between January 2005 and March 2009 at San Francisco General Hospital were included in this study. Single predictor logistic regression models were used to assess the associations of maternal clinical and biochemical predictors with fetal complications. Clinical predictors analyzed included age, race/ethnicity, gravidity, parity, history of liver or biliary disease, history of ICP in previous pregnancies, and induction. Biochemical predictors analyzed included serum aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, alkaline phosphatase, total bilirubin, direct bilirubin, albumin, total protein, and total bile acids (TBA).
Results
The prevalence of ICP was 1.9%. Most were Latina (90%). Labor was induced in the majority (87%) and most were delivered by normal spontaneous vaginal delivery (84%). Fetal complications occurred in 33% of the deliveries, with respiratory distress accounting for the majority of complications. There were no statistically significant clinical or biochemical predictors associated with an increased risk of fetal complications. Elevated TBA had little association with fetal complications until reaching greater than 100 µmoL/L, with 3 out of 5 having reported complications. ICP in previous pregnancies was associated with decreased risk of fetal complications (OR 0.21, p = 0.046). There were no cases of late term fetal demise.
Conclusions
Maternal clinical and laboratory features, including elevated TBA, did not appear to be substantial predictors of fetal complications in ICP.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0028343
PMCID: PMC3293870  PMID: 22403605
25.  Age-Related Skeletal Muscle Decline Is Similar in HIV-Infected and Uninfected Individuals 
Background.
Skeletal muscle (SM) mass decreases with advanced age and with disease in HIV infection. It is unknown whether age-related muscle loss is accelerated in the current era of antiretroviral therapy and which factors might contribute to muscle loss among HIV-infected adults. We hypothesized that muscle mass would be lower and decline faster in HIV-infected adults than in similar-aged controls.
Methods.
Whole-body 1H-magnetic resonance imaging was used to quantify regional and total SM in 399 HIV-infected and 204 control men and women at baseline and 5 years later. Multivariable regression identified associated factors.
Results.
At baseline and Year 5, total SM was lower in HIV-infected than control men. HIV-infected women were similar to control women at both time points. After adjusting for demographics, lifestyle factors, and total adipose tissue, HIV infection was associated with lower Year 5 SM in men and higher SM in women compared with controls. Average overall 5-year change in total SM was small and age related, but rate of change was similar in HIV-infected and control men and women. CD4 count and efavirenz use in HIV-infected participants were associated with increasing SM, whereas age and stavudine use were associated with decreasing SM.
Conclusions.
Muscle mass was lower in HIV-infected men compared with controls, whereas HIV-infected women had slightly higher SM than control women after multivariable adjustment. We found evidence against substantially faster SM decline in HIV infected versus similar-aged controls. SM gain was associated with increasing CD4 count, whereas stavudine use may contribute to SM loss.
doi:10.1093/gerona/glq228
PMCID: PMC3041474  PMID: 21310810
Sarcopenia; Lipoatrophy; Fat redistribution; Body composition

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