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1.  Acute HIV-1 Seroconversion with an Unusual Plasma Biomarker Profile 
Clinical and Vaccine Immunology : CVI  2013;20(11):1774-1777.
An unusual case of acute primary HIV-1 infection in a man with a high plasma viral load, a 51-fold increase in C-reactive protein, and antibodies against only gp160 is described. Numerous serum cytokine concentrations were elevated during HIV-1 seroconversion.
PMCID: PMC3837784  PMID: 24006141
2.  Levels of Murine, but Not Human, CXCL13 Are Greatly Elevated in NOD-SCID Mice Bearing the AIDS-Associated Burkitt Lymphoma Cell Line, 2F7 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e72414.
Currently, few rodent models of AIDS-associated non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (AIDS-NHL) exist. In these studies, a novel mouse/human xenograft model of AIDS-associated Burkitt lymphoma (AIDS-BL) was created by injecting cells of the human AIDS-BL cell line, 2F7, intraperitoneally into NOD-SCID mice. Mice developed tumors in the peritoneal cavity, with metastases to the spleen, thymus, and mesenteric lymph nodes. Expression of the chemokine receptor, CXCR5, was greatly elevated in vivo on BL tumor cells in this model, as shown by flow cytometry. CXCL13 is the ligand for CXCR5, and serum and ascites levels of murine, but not human, CXCL13 showed a striking elevation in tumor-bearing mice, with levels as high as 200,000 pg/ml in ascites, as measured by ELISA. As shown by immunohistochemistry, murine CXCL13 was associated with macrophage-like tumor-infiltrating cells that appeared to be histiocytes. Blocking CXCR5 on 2F7 cells with neutralizing antibodies prior to injection into the mice substantially delayed tumor formation. The marked elevations in tumor cell CXCR5 expression and in murine CXCL13 levels seen in the model may potentially identify an important link between tumor-interacting histiocytes and tumor cells in AIDS-BL. These results also identify CXCL13 as a potential biomarker for this disease, which is consistent with previous studies showing that serum levels of CXCL13 were elevated in human subjects who developed AIDS-lymphoma. This mouse model may be useful for future studies on the interactions of the innate immune system and AIDS-BL tumor cells, as well as for the assessment of potential tumor biomarkers for this disease.
PMCID: PMC3732224  PMID: 23936541
3.  Improved Estimation of the Distribution of Suppressed Plasma HIV-1 RNA in Men Receiving Effective Antiretroviral Therapy 
Plasma HIV-1 RNA was measured in 306 samples, collected from 273 highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART)-experienced men, using both the Roche COBAS TaqMan (limit of detection [LD]=20 copies/mL) and Roche Amplicor (LD=50 copies/mL) assays. Mixtures of Gaussian distributions incorporating left-censored data were used in analyses. The more sensitive TaqMan assay estimated that 23% and 0.0003% of HIV-1 RNA values would be below 1 copy/mL and 1 copy/3L, respectively. This is in sharp contrast to the overestimation provided by the less sensitive Amplicor assay, whereby the corresponding predicted percentages were 51% and 1%. Both assays appropriately characterized sub-optimal virologic response as the rightmost peaks of both distributions provided an excellent fit to the observed data. Our results based on a widely available 20 copies/mL sensitive assay reproduce those obtained using customized assays that quantified HIV-1 RNA values as low as 1 copy/mL.
PMCID: PMC3299865  PMID: 22217679
limit of detection; HIV-1 RNA; bimodal distribution; HAART
4.  Comparison of Humoral Immune Responses to Epstein-Barr Virus and Kaposi’s Sarcoma–Associated Herpesvirus Using a Viral Proteome Microarray 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2011;204(11):1683-1691.
Background. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a ubiquitous herpesvirus, and Kaposi’s sarcoma–associated herpesvirus (KSHV) has a restricted seroprevalence. Both viruses are associated with malignancies that have an increased frequency in individuals who are coinfected with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1).
Methods. To obtain an overview of humoral immune responses to these viruses, we generated a protein array that displayed 174 EBV and KSHV polypeptides purified from yeast. Antibody responses to EBV and KSHV were examined in plasma from healthy volunteers and patients with B cell lymphoma or with AIDS-related Kaposi’s sarcoma or lymphoma.
Results. In addition to the commonly studied antigens, IgG responses were frequently detected to the tegument proteins KSHV ORF38 and EBV BBRF and BGLF2 and BNRF1 and to the EBV early lytic proteins BRRF1 and BORF2. The EBV vIL-10 protein was particularly well recognized by plasma IgA. The most intense IgG responses to EBV antigens occurred in HIV-1–positive patients. No clear correlation was observed between viral DNA load in plasma and antibody profile.
Conclusions. The protein array provided a sensitive platform for global screening; identified new, frequently recognized viral antigens; and revealed a broader humoral response to EBV compared with KSHV in the same patients.
PMCID: PMC3203236  PMID: 21990424
5.  Tocilizumab attenuates inflammation in ALS patients through inhibition of IL6 receptor signaling 
Patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) have evidence of chronic inflammation demonstrated by infiltration of the gray matter by inflammatory macrophages, IL17A-positive T cells, and mast cells. Increased serum levels of IL6 and IL17A have been detected in sporadic ALS (sALS) patients when compared to healthy controls. Herein we investigate, in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), the baseline transcription of genes associated with inflammation in sALS and control subjects and the impact of the IL6 receptor (IL6R) antibody (tocilizumab) on the transcription and/or secretion of inflammation factors (e.g. cytokines) stimulated by the apo-G37R superoxide dismutase (SOD1) mutant. At baseline, PBMCs of four sALS patients (Group 1) showed significantly increased expression of TLR2 and CD14; ALOX5, PTGS2 and MMP1; IL1α, IL1β, IL6, IL36G, IL8 and TNF; CCL3, CCL20, CXCL2, CXCL3 and CXCL5. In four other sALS patients (Group 2), most of the genes just mentioned were expressed at near control levels and a significant decrease in the expression of PPARG, PPARA, RARG, HDAC4 and KAT2B; IL6R, IL6ST and ADAM17; TNFRSF11A; MGAT2 and MGAT3; PLCG1; CXCL3 were detected. Apo-G37R SOD1 up regulated the transcription of cytokines (e.g. IL1α/β, IL6, IL8, IL36G), chemokines (e.g. CCL20; CXCL3, CXCL5), and enzymes (e.g. PTGS2 and MMP1). In vitro, tocilizumab down regulated the transcription of many inflammatory cytokines, chemokines, enzymes, and receptors, which were up regulated by pathogenic forms of SOD1. Tocilizumab also reduced the secretion of the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL1β, IL6, TNFα, GM-CSF, IFNγ, and IL17A by Group 1 PBMCs. Finally, sALS patients had significantly higher concentrations of IL6, sIL6R and C-reactive protein in the cerebrospinal fluid when compared to AD patients. This pilot study demonstrates that in vitro tocilizumab suppresses many factors that drive inflammation in sALS patients, with possible increased efficacy in Group 1 ALS patients.
PMCID: PMC3560466  PMID: 23383400
Tocilizumab; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS); chronic inflammation; IL6 receptor signaling
6.  B-cell activation induced microRNA-21 is elevated in circulating B cells preceding the diagnosis of AIDS-related non-Hodgkin lymphomas 
AIDS (London, England)  2012;26(9):1177-1180.
We show that microRNA-21 is significantly elevated in peripheral B cells of HIV infected individuals who go on to develop AIDS-NHL (n=13, < 3 yrs prior to diagnosis) when compared to HIV negative (n = 18) or HIV positive controls (n = 21) (p < 0.01). Moreover, miR-21 is overex-pressed in activated B cells, and can be induced by IL4 alone, or with CD40 or IgM costimulation, and lipopolysaccharides (LPS), suggesting that miR-21 may help maintain B-cell hyperactivation, contributing to lymphomagenesis.
PMCID: PMC3355225  PMID: 22487708
9.  Birth Order and Risk of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma—True Association or Bias? 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2010;172(6):621-630.
There is inconsistent evidence that increasing birth order may be associated with risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). The authors examined the association between birth order and related variables and NHL risk in a pooled analysis (1983–2005) of 13,535 cases and 16,427 controls from 18 case-control studies within the International Lymphoma Epidemiology Consortium (InterLymph). Overall, the authors found no significant association between increasing birth order and risk of NHL (P-trend = 0.082) and significant heterogeneity. However, a significant association was present for a number of B- and T-cell NHL subtypes. There was considerable variation in the study-specific risks which was partly explained by study design and participant characteristics. In particular, a significant positive association was present in population-based studies, which had lower response rates in cases and controls, but not in hospital-based studies. A significant positive association was present in higher-socioeconomic-status (SES) participants only. Results were very similar for the related variable of sibship size. The known correlation of high birth order with low SES suggests that selection bias related to SES may be responsible for the association between birth order and NHL.
PMCID: PMC2950815  PMID: 20720098
birth order; case-control studies; lymphoma, non-Hodgkin; selection bias; social class
10.  Cancer Biomarkers in HIV Patients 
Current opinion in HIV and AIDS  2010;5(6):531-537.
Purpose of review
In this review, we update investigations related to cancer biomarkers in HIV-infected populations
Recent findings
CD4 lymphocyte is associated with PCNSL, systemic NHL (except perhaps for BL), KS, cervical cancer and anal cancer. HIV load is associated with BL and systemic NHL (but not PCNSL), with KS and with anal cancer. CD40 ligand incorporated into the HIV envelope and expression of activation induced cytidine deaminase may help explain the relationship between HIV load and BL. Genetic polymorphisms have been identified that are linked to lymphoma in HIV patients. B cell activation as manifest in immunoglobulin light chain production may be an important marker for NHL risk. Cytokines and related molecules (IL10, sCD30) may identify patients at high risk for NHL. EBV in CSF is useful as a marker for PCNSL, although with the falling incidence of PCNSL, the specificity of the test has been called into question. EBV and KSHV have not yet emerged as especially promising markers of risk for either lymphoma or KS.
CD4 lymphocyte count, HIV load, germ line genetic polymorphisms, cytokine and related molecules and immunoglobulin light chains all show increasing promise as biomarkers of malignancy in HIV patients.
PMCID: PMC3055562  PMID: 20978397
Lymphoma; Hodgkin’s; Kaposi’s sarcoma; cervical cancer; HIV
11.  The Major Histocompatibility Complex Conserved Extended Haplotype 8.1 in AIDS-related Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma 
Two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in adjacent genes, lymphotoxin alpha (LTA +252G, rs909253 A>G) and tumor necrosis factor (TNF −308A, rs1800629 G>A), form the G-A haplotype repeatedly associated with increased risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) in individuals uninfected with HIV-1. This association has been observed alone or in combination with HLA-B* 08 or HLA-DRB1*03 in the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). Which gene variant on this highly conserved extended haplotype (CEH 8.1) in Caucasians most likely represents a true etiologic factor remains uncertain. We aimed to determine whether the reported association of the G-A haplotype of LTA-TNF with non-AIDS NHL also occurs with AIDS-related NHL. SNPs in LTA and TNF and in six other genes nearby were typed in 140 non-Hispanic European American pairs of AIDS-NHL cases and matched controls selected from HIV-infected men in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study. The G-A haplotype and a 4-SNP haplotype in the neighboring gene cluster (rs537160 (A) rs1270942 (G), rs2072633 (A) and rs6467 (C)) were associated with AIDS-NHL (OR=2.7, 95% CI: 1.5–4.8, p=0.0009 and OR=3.2, 95% CI: 1.6–6.6 p=0.0008; respectively). These two haplotypes occur in strong linkage disequilibrium with each other on CEH 8.1. The CEH 8.1-specific haplotype association of MHC class III variants with AIDS-NHL closely resembles that observed for non-AIDS NHL. Corroboration of an MHC determinant of AIDS and non-AIDS NHL alike would imply an important pathogenetic mechanism common to both.
PMCID: PMC3015185  PMID: 19654554
Human Leukocyte Antigen; HIV; CD4; Multicenter AIDS Cohort NHL Study
12.  IL-17A is increased in the serum and in spinal cord CD8 and mast cells of ALS patients 
The contribution of inflammation to neurodegenerative diseases is increasingly recognized, but the role of inflammation in sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (sALS) is not well understood and no animal model is available. We used enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) to measure the cytokine interleukin-17A (IL-17A) in the serum of ALS patients (n = 32; 28 sporadic ALS (sALS) and 4 familial ALS (fALS)) and control subjects (n = 14; 10 healthy subjects and 4 with autoimmune disorders). IL-17A serum concentrations were 5767 ± 2700 pg/ml (mean ± SEM) in sALS patients and 937 ± 927 pg/ml in fALS patients in comparison to 7 ± 2 pg/ml in control subjects without autoimmune disorders (p = 0.008 ALS patients vs. control subjects by Mann-Whitney test). Sixty-four percent of patients and no control subjects had IL-17A serum concentrations > 50 pg/ml (p = 0.003 ALS patients vs. healthy subjects by Fisher's exact test). The spinal cords of sALS (n = 8), but not control subjects (n = 4), were infiltrated by interleukin-1β- (IL-1β-), and tumor necrosis factor-α-positive macrophages (co-localizing with neurons), IL-17A-positive CD8 cells, and IL-17A-positive mast cells. Mononuclear cells treated with aggregated forms of wild type superoxide dismutase-1 (SOD-1) showed induction of the cytokines IL-1β, interleukin-6 (IL-6), and interleukin-23 (IL-23) that may be responsible for induction of IL-17A. In a microarray analysis of 28,869 genes, stimulation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells by mutant superoxide dismutase-1 induced four-fold higher transcripts of interleukin-1α (IL-1α), IL-6, CCL20, matrix metallopeptidase 1, and tissue factor pathway inhibitor 2 in mononuclear cells of patients as compared to controls, whereas the anti-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-10 (IL-10) was increased in mononuclear cells of control subjects. Aggregated wild type SOD-1 in sALS neurons could induce in mononuclear cells the cytokines inducing chronic inflammation in sALS spinal cord, in particular IL-6 and IL-17A, damaging neurons. Immune modulation of chronic inflammation may be a new approach to sALS.
PMCID: PMC2992053  PMID: 21062492
14.  Sleep Loss Activates Cellular Inflammatory Signaling 
Biological psychiatry  2008;64(6):538-540.
Accumulating evidence suggests that sleep disturbance is associated with inflammation and related disorders including cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and diabetes mellitus. This study was undertaken to test the effects of sleep loss on activation of nuclear factor (NF) -κB, a transcription factor that serves a critical role in the inflammatory signaling cascade.
In 14 healthy adults (7 females; 7 males), peripheral blood mononuclear cell NF-κB was repeatedly assessed, along with enumeration of lymphocyte subpopulations, in the morning after baseline sleep, partial sleep deprivation (awake from 23:00 h to 03:00 h), and recovery sleep.
In the morning after a night of sleep loss, mononuclear cell NF-κB activation was significantly greater compared with morning levels following uninterrupted baseline or recovery sleep, in which the response was found in females but not in males.
These results identify NF-κB activation as a molecular pathway by which sleep disturbance may influence leukocyte inflammatory gene expression and the risk of inflammation-related disease.
PMCID: PMC2547406  PMID: 18561896

Results 1-14 (14)