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1.  Limited efficacy of inactivated influenza vaccine in elderly individuals is associated with decreased production of vaccine-specific antibodies 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2011;121(8):3109-3119.
During seasonal influenza epidemics, disease burden is shouldered predominantly by the very young and the elderly. Elderly individuals are particularly affected, in part because vaccine efficacy wanes with age. This has been linked to a reduced ability to induce a robust serum antibody response. Here, we show that this is due to reduced quantities of vaccine-specific antibodies, rather than a lack of antibody avidity or affinity. We measured levels of vaccine-specific plasmablasts by ELISPOT 1 week after immunization of young and elderly adults with inactivated seasonal influenza vaccine. Plasmablast-derived polyclonal antibodies (PPAbs) were generated from bulk-cultured B cells, while recombinant monoclonal antibodies (re-mAbs) were produced from single plasmablasts. The frequency of vaccine-specific plasmablasts and the concentration of PPAbs were lower in the elderly than in young adults, whereas the yields of secreted IgG per plasmablast were not different. Differences were not detected in the overall vaccine-specific avidity or affinity of PPAbs and re-mAbs between the 2 age groups. In contrast, reactivity of the antibodies induced by the inactivated seasonal influenza vaccine toward the 2009 pandemic H1N1 virus, which was not present in the vaccine, was higher in the elderly than in the young. These results indicate that the inferior antibody response to influenza vaccination in the elderly is primarily due to reduced quantities of vaccine-specific antibodies. They also suggest that exposure history affects the cross-reactivity of vaccination-induced antibodies.
doi:10.1172/JCI57834
PMCID: PMC3148747  PMID: 21785218
2.  Advantages of Joint Modeling of Component HIV Risk Behaviors and Non-Response: Application to Randomized Trials in Cocaine-Dependent and Methamphetamine-Dependent Populations 
The HIV risk-taking behavior scale (HRBS) is an 11-item instrument designed to assess the risks of HIV infection due to self-reported injection-drug use and sexual behavior. A retrospective analysis was performed on HRBS data collected from approximately 1,000 participants pooled across seven clinical trials of pharmacotherapies for either the treatment of cocaine dependence or methamphetamine dependence. Analysis faced three important challenges. The sample contained a high proportion of missing assessments after randomization. Also, the HRBS scale consists of two distinct behavioral components which may or may not coincide in response patterns. In addition, distributions of responses on the subscales were highly concentrated at just a few values (e.g., 0, 6). To address these challenges, a single probit regression model was fit to three outcomes variables simultaneously – the two subscale totals plus an indicator variable for assessments not obtained (non-response). This joint-outcome regression model was able to identify that those who left assessment early had higher self-reported risk of injection-drug use and lower self-reported risky sexual behavior because the model was able to draw on information on associations among the three outcomes collectively. These findings were not identified in analyses performed on each outcome separately. No evidence for an effect of pharmacotherapies was observed, except to reduce missing assessments. Univariate-outcome modeling is not recommended for the HRBS.
doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2011.00041
PMCID: PMC3133876  PMID: 21779253
cocaine dependence; latent variables; methamphetamine dependence; missing assessment; multivariate outcome; probit regression
3.  SHORT-TERM STRESS ENHANCES CELLULAR IMMUNITY AND INCREASES EARLY RESISTANCE TO SQUAMOUS CELL CARCINOMA 
Brain, behavior, and immunity  2009;24(1):127-137.
In contrast to chronic/long-term stress that suppresses/dysregulates immune function, an acute/short-term fight-or-flight stress response experienced during immune activation can enhance innate and adaptive immunity. Moderate ultraviolet-B (UV) exposure provides a non-invasive system for studying the naturalistic emergence, progression and regression of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Because SCC is an immunoresponsive cancer, we hypothesized that short-term stress experienced before UV exposure would enhance protective immunity and increase resistance to SCC. Control and short-term stress groups were treated identically except that the short-term stress group was restrained (2.5h) before each of nine UV-exposure sessions (minimum erythemal dose, 3-times/week) during weeks 4-6 of the ten-week UV-exposure protocol. Tumors were measured weekly, and tissue collected at weeks 7, 20, & 32. Chemokine and cytokine gene expression was quantified by real-time PCR, and CD4+ and CD8+ T cells by flow cytometry and immunohistochemistry. Compared to controls, the short-term stress group showed greater cutaneous-T-cell-attracting-chemokine (CTACK)/CCL27, RANTES, IL-12, and IFN-γ gene expression at weeks 7, 20, & 32, higher skin infiltrating T cell numbers (weeks 7 & 20), lower tumor incidence (weeks 11-20) and fewer tumors (weeks 11-26). These results suggest that activation of short-term stress physiology increased chemokine expression and T cell trafficking and/or function during/following UV exposure, and enhanced Type 1 cytokine-driven cell-mediated immunity that is crucial for resistance to SCC. Therefore, the physiological fight-or-flight stress response and its adjuvant-like immuno-enhancing effects, may provide a novel and important mechanism for enhancing immune system mediated tumor-detection/elimination that merits further investigation.
doi:10.1016/j.bbi.2009.09.004
PMCID: PMC2788066  PMID: 19765644
skin cancer/tumor; psychological stress; cell-mediated immunity; immune cells; Th1-Th2 cytokines; Cutaneous T-cell Attracting Chemokine (CTACK)
4.  Association between Genotype of the Serotonin Transporter-Linked Polymorphic Region of the Serotonin Transporter Gene and Age of Onset of Methamphetamine Use: a Preliminary Analysis 
Early-onset methamphetamine use increases the lifetime prevalence of methamphetamine dependence. An earlier onset of methamphetamine use leads to greater damage to the terminal ends of serotonin neurons, more reduction in serotonin transporter (5-HTT) density, and an increased propensity toward further methamphetamine use. Because the 5-HTT-linked polymorphic region (5′-HTTLPR) within the promoter region of the 5-HTT gene leads to differential expression of the 5-HTT, we examined, for the first time, whether there is a differential association between the long (L) and short (S) alleles of the 5′-HTTLPR and the age of first methamphetamine use (AMU). The study included 120 methamphetamine-dependent adults of European descent. Diagnosis of methamphetamine dependence and AMU were collected using structured questionnaires, and the 5′-HTTLPR genotypes were determined using the polymerase chain reaction–restriction fragment length polymorphism method. Statistical analysis with the general linear model detected a significant interactive effect of 5′-HTTLPR genotypes (SS vs. L-carriers) and gender, associated with AMU (F = 3.99; p = 0.048). Further analysis of 5′-HTTLPR effects on AMU in males and females separately showed that the SS genotype compared with L-carriers had about two times greater risk of an earlier onset of methamphetamine use in men (hazard ratio = 1.839; 95% confidence interval = 1.042–3.246; p = 0.036) but not in women. Together, our findings in this preliminary study suggest a greater risk for earlier onset methamphetamine use associated with the SS genotype of the 5′-HTTLPR among methamphetamine-dependent Caucasian males.
doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2010.00145
PMCID: PMC3059661  PMID: 21423453
methamphetamine; age of onset; serotonin transporter; genotype; serotonin transporter-linked polymorphic region
5.  Simple Counts of ADL Dependencies Do Not Adequately Reflect Older Adults' Preferences toward States of Functional Impairment 
Journal of clinical epidemiology  2008;61(12):1261-1270.
Objective
To use unweighted counts of dependencies in Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) to assess the impact of functional impairment requires an assumption of equal preferences for each ADL dependency. To test this assumption, we analyzed standard gamble utilities of single and combination ADL dependencies among older adults. Study Design and Setting: Four hundred older adults used multimedia software (FLAIR1) to report standard gamble utilities for their current health and hypothetical health states of dependency in each of 7 ADLs and 8 of 30 combinations of ADL dependencies.
Results
Utilities for health states of multiple ADL dependencies were often greater than for states of single ADL dependencies. Dependence in eating, the ADL dependency with the lowest utility rating of the single ADL dependencies, ranked lower than 7 combination states. Similarly, some combination states with fewer ADL dependencies had lower utilities than those with more ADL dependencies. These findings were consistent across groups by gender, age, and education.
Conclusion
Our results suggest that the count of ADL dependencies does not adequately represent the utility for a health state. Cost-effectiveness analyses and other evaluations of programs that prevent or treat functional dependency should apply utility-weights rather than relying on simple ADL counts.
doi:10.1016/j.jclinepi.2008.05.001
PMCID: PMC2596888  PMID: 18722749
Quality of Life; Older Adults; Activities of Daily Living; Standard Gamble Utilities; Functional Dependency; Health Preferences
6.  Differential Effects of Insulin Sensitivity on Androgens in Obese Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or Normal Ovulation 
Metabolism: clinical and experimental  2008;57(10):1355-1360.
The differential effects of insulin sensitivity and adiposity on androgen concentrations in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are unclear. To address this issue, we divided 43 overweight women into 4 groups based on both their clinical classification (PCOS or Normal), and whether they were insulin resistant (IR) or insulin sensitive (IS) by their steady-state plasma glucose (SSPG) concentrations. Total testosterone concentrations were significantly increased as a function of both clinical classification (PCOS vs. Normal, p < 0.0001) and SSPG concentration (IR vs., IS, p = 0.002). Mean testosterone concentrations were higher in PCOS-IR compared to either PCOS-IS, Normal-IR or Normal-IS women (p < 0.005). Additionally, there was a statistically significant interaction (p=0.03) between clinical classification (PCOS vs. Normal) and insulin sensitivity (IR vs. IS) for testosterone concentrations. In contrast, androstenedione concentrations were higher in women with PCOS (p=0.001), irrespective of whether they were IR or IS (p=0.31), and no interaction between clinical classification and insulin sensitivity was discerned (p=0.34). These results indicate that both PCOS and insulin resistance independently contributed to increased total testosterone concentrations within a group of overweight/obese women. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that the ovaries of women with PCOS are hypersensitive to the ability of insulin to increase testosterone production, and the more insulin resistant the patient, the higher the testosterone concentration. In contrast, androstendione concentrations seem to be independent of differences in insulin resistance. Our findings emphasize the need to increase understanding of the factors that modulate ovarian androgen secretion.
doi:10.1016/j.metabol.2008.05.002
PMCID: PMC2573867  PMID: 18803938
PCOS; Insulin resistance; Testosterone; Obesity
7.  Influence of Prior Influenza Vaccination on Antibody and B-Cell Responses 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(8):e2975.
Currently two vaccines, trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine (TIV) and live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV), are licensed in the USA. Despite previous studies on immune responses induced by these two vaccines, a comparative study of the influence of prior influenza vaccination on serum antibody and B-cell responses to new LAIV or TIV vaccination has not been reported. During the 2005/6 influenza season, we quantified the serum antibody and B-cell responses to LAIV or TIV in adults with differing influenza vaccination histories in the prior year: LAIV, TIV, or neither. Blood samples were collected on days 0, 7–9 and 21–35 after immunization and used for serum HAI assay and B-cell assays. Total and influenza-specific circulating IgG and IgA antibody secreting cells (ASC) in PBMC were detected by direct ELISPOT assay. Memory B cells were also tested by ELISPOT after polyclonal stimulation of PBMC in vitro. Serum antibody, effector, and memory B-cell responses were greater in TIV recipients than LAIV recipients. Prior year TIV recipients had significantly higher baseline HAI titers, but lower HAI response after vaccination with either TIV or LAIV, and lower IgA ASC response after vaccination with TIV than prior year LAIV or no vaccination recipients. Lower levels of baseline HAI titer were associated with a greater fold-increase of HAI titer and ASC number after vaccination, which also differed by type of vaccine. Our findings suggest that the type of vaccine received in the prior year affects the serum antibody and the B-cell responses to subsequent vaccination. In particular, prior year TIV vaccination is associated with sustained higher HAI titer one year later but lower antibody response to new LAIV or TIV vaccination, and a lower effector B-cell response to new TIV but not LAIV vaccination.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0002975
PMCID: PMC2500171  PMID: 18714352
8.  Baseline Levels of Influenza-Specific CD4 Memory T-Cells Affect T-Cell Responses to Influenza Vaccines 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(7):e2574.
Background
Factors affecting immune responses to influenza vaccines have not been studied systematically. We hypothesized that T-cell and antibody responses to the vaccines are functions of pre-existing host immunity against influenza antigens.
Methodology/Principal Findings
During the 2004 and 2005 influenza seasons, we have collected data on cellular and humoral immune reactivity to influenza virus in blood samples collected before and after immunization with inactivated or live attenuated influenza vaccines in healthy children and adults. We first used cross-validated lasso regression on the 2004 dataset to identify a group of candidate baseline correlates with T-cell and antibody responses to vaccines, defined as fold-increase in influenza-specific T-cells and serum HAI titer after vaccination. The following baseline parameters were examined: percentages of influenza-reactive IFN-γ+ cells in T and NK cell subsets, percentages of influenza-specific memory B-cells, HAI titer, age, and type of vaccine. The candidate baseline correlates were then tested with the independent 2005 dataset. Baseline percentage of influenza-specific IFN-γ+ CD4 T-cells was identified as a significant correlate of CD4 and CD8 T-cell responses, with lower baseline levels associated with larger T-cell responses. Baseline HAI titer and vaccine type were identified as significant correlates for HAI response, with lower baseline levels and the inactivated vaccine associated with larger HAI responses. Previously we reported that baseline levels of CD56dim NK reactivity against influenza virus inversely correlated with the immediate T-cell response to vaccination, and that NK reactivity induced by influenza virus depended on IL-2 produced by influenza-specific memory T-cells. Taken together these results suggest a novel mechanism for the homeostasis of virus-specific T-cells, which involves interaction between memory helper T-cells, CD56dim NK and DC.
Significance
These results demonstrate that assessment of baseline biomarkers may predict immunologic outcome of influenza vaccination and may reveal some of the mechanisms responsible for variable immune responses following vaccination and natural infection.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0002574
PMCID: PMC2440350  PMID: 18596908
9.  Comparison of the Influenza Virus-Specific Effector and Memory B-Cell Responses to Immunization of Children and Adults with Live Attenuated or Inactivated Influenza Virus Vaccines▿  
Journal of Virology  2006;81(1):215-228.
Cellular immune responses to influenza virus infection and influenza virus vaccination have not been rigorously characterized. We quantified the effector and memory B-cell responses in children and adults after administration of either live attenuated (LAIV) or inactivated (TIV) influenza virus vaccines and compared these to antibody responses. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were collected at days 0, 7 to 12, and 27 to 42 after immunization of younger children (6 months to 4 years old), older children (5 to 9 years old), and adults. Influenza virus-specific effector immunoglobulin A (IgA) and IgG circulating antibody-secreting cells (ASC) and stimulated memory B cells were detected using an enzyme-linked immunospot assay. Circulating influenza virus-specific IgG and IgA ASC were detected 7 to 12 days after TIV and after LAIV immunization. Seventy-nine percent or more of adults and older children had demonstrable IgG ASC responses, while IgA ASC responses were detected in 29 to 53% of the subjects. The IgG ASC response rate to LAIV immunization in adults was significantly higher than the response rate measured by standard serum antibody assays (26.3% and 15.8% by neutralization and hemagglutination inhibition assays, respectively). IgG ASC and serum antibody responses were relatively low in the younger children compared to older children and adults. TIV, but not LAIV, significantly increased the percentage of circulating influenza virus-specific memory B cells detected at 27 to 42 days after immunization in children and adults. In conclusion, although both influenza vaccines are effective, we found significant differences in the B-cell and antibody responses elicited after LAIV or TIV immunization in adults and older children and between young children and older age groups.
doi:10.1128/JVI.01957-06
PMCID: PMC1797237  PMID: 17050593
10.  Cellular Immune Responses in Children and Adults Receiving Inactivated or Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccines▿  
Journal of Virology  2006;80(23):11756-11766.
The patterns of cellular immune responses induced by live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) versus those of the trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine (TIV) have not been studied extensively, especially in children. The goals of this study were to evaluate the effects of TIV and LAIV immunization on cellular immunity to live influenza A virus in children and adults and to explore factors associated with variations in responses to influenza vaccines among individuals. A gamma interferon (IFN-γ) flow cytometry assay was used to measure IFN-γ-producing (IFN-γ+) NK and T cells in peripheral blood mononuclear cell cultures stimulated with a live influenza A virus strain before and after LAIV or TIV immunization of children and adults. The mean percentages of influenza A virus-specific IFN-γ+ CD4 and CD8 T cells increased significantly after LAIV, but not TIV, immunization in children aged 5 to 9 years. No increases in the mean levels of influenza A virus-reactive IFN-γ+ T cells and NK cells were observed in adults given LAIV or TIV. TIV induced a significant increase in influenza A virus-reactive T cells in 6-month- to 4-year-old children; LAIV was not evaluated in this age group. The postvaccination changes (n-fold) in the percentages of influenza A virus-reactive IFN-γ+ T and NK cells in adults were highly variable and correlated inversely with the prevaccination percentages, in particular with that of the CD56dim NK cell subset. In conclusion, our findings identify age, type of vaccine, and prevaccination levels of immune reactivity to influenza A virus as factors significantly associated with the magnitude of cellular immune responses to influenza vaccines.
doi:10.1128/JVI.01460-06
PMCID: PMC1642596  PMID: 16971435
11.  T cell–dependent production of IFN-γ by NK cells in response to influenza A virus 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2004;114(12):1812-1819.
The role of human NK cells in viral infections is poorly understood. We used a cytokine flow-cytometry assay to simultaneously investigate the IFN-γ response of NK and T lymphocytes to influenza A virus (fluA). When PBMCs from fluA-immune adult donors were incubated with fluA, IFN-γ was produced by both CD56dim and CD56bright subsets of NK cells, as well as by fluA-specific T cells. Purified NK cells did not produce IFN-γ in response to fluA, while depletion of T lymphocytes reduced to background levels the fluA-induced IFN-γ production by NK cells, which indicates that T cells are required for the IFN-γ response of NK cells. The fluA-induced IFN-γ production of NK cells was suppressed by anti–IL-2 Ab, while recombinant IL-2 replaced the helper function of T cells for IFN-γ production by NK cells. This indicates that IL-2 produced by fluA-specific T cells is involved in the T cell–dependent IFN-γ response of NK cells to fluA. Taken together, these results suggest that at an early stage of recurrent viral infection, NK-mediated innate immunity to the virus is enhanced by preexisting virus-specific T cells.
doi:10.1172/JCI200422797
PMCID: PMC535070  PMID: 15599406
12.  High-Anxious Individuals Show Increased Chronic Stress Burden, Decreased Protective Immunity, and Increased Cancer Progression in a Mouse Model of Squamous Cell Carcinoma 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e33069.
In spite of widespread anecdotal and scientific evidence much remains to be understood about the long-suspected connection between psychological factors and susceptibility to cancer. The skin is the most common site of cancer, accounting for nearly half of all cancers in the US, with approximately 2–3 million cases of non-melanoma cancers occurring each year worldwide. We hypothesized that a high-anxious, stress-prone behavioral phenotype would result in a higher chronic stress burden, lower protective-immunity, and increased progression of the immuno-responsive skin cancer, squamous cell carcinoma. SKH1 mice were phenotyped as high- or low-anxious at baseline, and subsequently exposed to ultraviolet-B light (1 minimal erythemal dose (MED), 3 times/week, 10-weeks). The significant strengths of this cancer model are that it uses a normal, immunocompetent, outbred strain, without surgery/injection of exogenous tumor cells/cell lines, and produces lesions that resemble human tumors. Tumors were counted weekly (primary outcome), and tissues collected during early and late phases of tumor development. Chemokine/cytokine gene-expression was quantified by PCR, tumor-infiltrating helper (Th), cytolytic (CTL), and regulatory (Treg) T cells by immunohistochemistry, lymph node T and B cells by flow cytometry, adrenal and plasma corticosterone and tissue vascular-endothelial-growth-factor (VEGF) by ELISA. High-anxious mice showed a higher tumor burden during all phases of tumor development. They also showed: higher corticosterone levels (indicating greater chronic stress burden), increased CCL22 expression and Treg infiltration (increased tumor-recruited immuno-suppression), lower CTACK/CCL27, IL-12, and IFN-γ gene-expression and lower numbers of tumor infiltrating Th and CTLs (suppressed protective immunity), and higher VEGF concentrations (increased tumor angiogenesis/invasion/metastasis). These results suggest that the deleterious effects of high trait anxiety could be: exacerbated by life-stressors, accentuated by the stress of cancer diagnosis/treatment, and mediate increased tumor progression and/or metastasis. Therefore, it may be beneficial to investigate the use of chemotherapy-compatible anxiolytic treatments immediately following cancer diagnosis, and during cancer treatment/survivorship.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0033069
PMCID: PMC3338811  PMID: 22558071

Results 1-12 (12)