Trials of a vaginal Tenofovir gel for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV have given conflicting results. Knowledge of concentrations of Tenofovir and its active form Tenofovir diphosphate, at putative sites of anti-HIV functioning, is central to understanding trial outcomes and design of products and dosage regimens. Topical Tenofovir delivery to the vaginal environment is complex, multivariate and non-linear; determinants relate to drug, vehicle, dosage regimen, and environment. Experimental PK methods cannot yield mechanistic understanding of this process, and have uncontrolled variability in drug sampling. Mechanistic modeling of the process could help delineate its determinants, and be a tool in design and interpretation of products and trials.
Methods and Findings
We created a four-compartment mass transport model for Tenofovir delivery by a gel: gel, epithelium, stroma, blood. Transport was diffusion-driven in vaginal compartments; blood concentration was time-varying but homogeneous. Parameters for the model derived from in vitro and in vivo PK data, to which model predictions gave good agreement. Steep concentration gradients occurred in stroma ≤8 hours after gel release. Increasing epithelial thickness delayed initial TFV delivery to stroma and its decline: tmax increased but AUC at 24 hours was not significantly altered. At 24 and 48 hours, stromal concentrations were 6.3% and 0.2% of Cmax. Concentrations in simulated biopsies overestimated stromal concentrations, as much as ∼5X, depending upon time of sampling, biopsy thickness and epithelial thickness.
There was reasonably good agreement of model predictions with clinical PK data. Conversion of TFV to TFV-DP was not included, but PK data suggest a linear relationship between them. Thus contrasts predicted by this model can inform design of gels and dosage regimens in clinical trials, and interpretation of PK data. This mass transport based approach can be extended to TFV conversion to TFV-DP, and to other drugs and dosage forms.
This paper summarizes presentations given at the 2011 Experimental Biology meetings about the latest research and a paleoanthropological perspective pertaining to the relationship between dietary cholesterol intake and cardiovascular disease risk. For much of the past 50 years, a great deal of the scientific literature regarding dietary fat and cholesterol intake has indicated a strong positive correlation with heart disease. In recent years, however, there have been a number of epidemiological studies that did not support a relationship between cholesterol intake and cardiovascular disease. Further, a number of recent clinical trials that looked at the effects of long-term egg consumption (as a vehicle for dietary cholesterol) reported no negative impact on various indices of cardiovascular health and disease. Coupled with data indicating that the impact of lowering dietary cholesterol intake on serum LDL levels is small compared with other dietary and lifestyle factors, there is a need to consider how otherwise healthy foods can be incorporated in the diet to meet current dietary cholesterol recommendations. Because eggs are a healthful food, it is particularly important that sensible strategies be recommended for inclusions of eggs in a healthy diet.
Rett syndrome (RTT) results from loss-of-function mutations in the gene encoding the methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (MeCP2) and is characterized by abnormal motor, respiratory and autonomic control, cognitive impairment, autistic-like behaviors and increased risk of seizures. RTT patients and Mecp2 null mice exhibit reduced expression of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), which has been linked in mice to increased respiratory frequency, a hallmark of RTT. The present study was undertaken to test the hypotheses that BDNF deficits in Mecp2 mutants are associated with reduced activation of the BDNF receptor, TrkB, and that pharmacologic activation of TrkB would improve respiratory function. We characterized BDNF protein expression, TrkB activation and respiration in heterozygous female Mecp2 mutant mice (Het), a model that recapitulates the somatic mosaicism for mutant Mecp2 found in typical RTT patients, and evaluated the ability of a small molecule TrkB agonist, LM22A-4, to ameliorate biochemical and functional abnormalities in these animals. We found that Het mice exhibit 1) reduced BDNF expression and TrkB activation in the medulla and pons and 2) breathing dysfunction, characterized by increased frequency due to periods of tachypnea, and increased apneas, as in RTT patients. Treatment of Het mice with LM22A-4 for 4 weeks rescued wildtype levels of TrkB phosphorylation in the medulla and pons and restored wildtype breathing frequency. These data provide new insight into the role of BDNF signaling deficits in the pathophysiology of RTT and highlight TrkB as a possible therapeutic target in this disease.
Excitatory-inhibitory imbalance has been identified within specific brain microcircuits in models of Rett syndrome (RTT) and other autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). However, macrocircuit dysfunction across the RTT brain as a whole has not been defined. To approach this issue, we mapped expression of the activity-dependent, immediate-early gene product Fos in the brains of wild-type (Wt) and methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (Mecp2)-null (Null) mice, a model of RTT, before and after the appearance of overt symptoms (3 and 6 weeks of age, respectively). At 6 weeks, Null mice exhibit significantly less Fos labeling than Wt in limbic cortices and subcortical structures, including key nodes in the default mode network. In contrast, Null mice exhibit significantly more Fos labeling than Wt in the hindbrain, most notably in cardiorespiratory regions of the nucleus tractus solitarius (nTS). Using nTS as a model, whole-cell recordings demonstrated that increased Fos expression in Nulls at 6 weeks of age is associated with synaptic hyperexcitability, including increased frequency of spontaneous and miniature EPSCs and increased amplitude of evoked EPSCs in Nulls. No such effect of genotype on Fos or synaptic function was seen at 3 weeks. In the mutant forebrain, reduced Fos expression, as well as abnormal sensorimotor function, were reversed by the NMDA receptor antagonist ketamine. In light of recent findings that the default mode network is hypoactive in autism, our data raise the possibility that hypofunction within this meta-circuit is a shared feature of RTT and other ASDs and is reversible.
The focus on acute care, time pressure, and lack of resources hamper the delivery of smoking cessation interventions in the emergency department (ED). The aim of this study was to 1) determine the effect of an emergency nurse-initiated intervention on delivery of smoking cessation counseling based on the 5As framework (ask-advise-assess-assist-arrange), and 2) assess ED nurses’ and physicians’ perceptions of smoking cessation counseling.
The authors conducted a pre-post trial in 789 adult smokers (five or more cigarettes/day) who presented to two EDs. The intervention focused on improving delivery of the 5As by ED nurses and physicians, and included face-to-face training and an online tutorial, use of a charting/reminder tool, fax referral of motivated smokers to the state tobacco quitline for proactive telephone counseling, and group feedback to ED staff. To assess ED performance of cessation counseling, a telephone interview of subjects was conducted shortly after the ED visit. Nurses’ and physicians’ self-efficacy, role satisfaction, and attitudes toward smoking cessation counseling were assessed by survey. Multivariable linear regression was used to assess the effect of the intervention on performance of the 5As, while adjusting for key covariates.
Of 650 smokers who completed the post-ED interview, a greater proportion had been asked about smoking by an ED nurse (68% vs. 53%, adjusted OR = 2.0, 95% CI = 1.3 to 2.9), assessed for willingness to quit (31% vs. 9%, adjusted OR= 4.9, 95% CI = 2.9 to 7.9), assisted in quitting (23% vs. 6%, adjusted OR = 5.1, 95% CI = 2.7 to 9.5), and had arrangements for follow-up cessation counseling (7% vs. 1%, adjusted OR = 7.1, 95% CI = 2.3 to 21) during the intervention compared to the baseline period. A similar increase was observed for emergency physicians. ED nurses’ self-efficacy and role satisfaction in cessation counseling significantly improved following the intervention; however, there was no change in “pros” and “cons” attitudes toward smoking cessation in either ED nurses or physicians.
Emergency department nurses and physicians can effectively deliver smoking cessation counseling to smokers in a time-efficient manner. This trial also provides empirical support for expert recommendations that call for nursing staff to play a larger role in delivering public health interventions in the ED.
Drug delivery of topical microbicidal molecules against HIV offers promise as a modality to prevent sexual transmission of the virus. Success of any microbicide product depends, in an interactive way, upon its drug (the microbicide active pharmaceutical ingredient, API) and its delivery system (e.g. a gel, film or intravaginal ring). There is a widespread agreement that more effective drug delivery vehicles, as well as better APIs, must be developed to improve the efficacy of microbicide products. Non-Newtonian gels are primary microbicide vehicles, but those to date have been created with limited understanding of how their properties govern their spreading and retention in the vagina, which, in turn, govern successful drug delivery. Here, we apply fundamental fluid mechanical and physicochemical transport theory to help better understand how successful microbicide API delivery depends upon properties of a gel and the vaginal environment. We address several critical components of this complex process, including: elastohydrodynamic flow of the bolus of a non-Newtonian fluid; and mass transfer due to inhomogeneous dilution of the gel by vaginal fluid contacting it along a moving boundary (the locally deforming vaginal epithelial surface). Local dilution of gel alters local rheological properties. We evaluated this experimentally, delin-eating the way that constitutive parameters of a shear-thinning gel are modified by dilution. We supplement the Reynolds lubrication equation with a mass conservation equation to model diluting fluid movement across the moving vaginal epithelial surface and into the gel bolus. This is a physicochemically complex phenomenon that is not well understood. We implement a boundary flux model based upon the elevated hydrodynamic pressures in the cells. Results show that this model produces fluxes that lie within the range of mean values that have been reported. Further experimental characterization of the vaginal wall is required for a more precise set of parameters and a more sophisticated theoretical treatment of epithelium.
Swelling; Lubrication flow; Anti-HIV microbicide; Squeezing flow; Imbibition
We examined temporal trends and correlates of HIV testing frequency among men who have sex with men (MSM) in King County, WA.
We evaluated data from MSM testing for HIV at the Public Health - Seattle & King County (PHSKC) STD Clinic and Gay City Health Project (GCHP) and testing history data from MSM in PHSKC HIV surveillance. The intertest interval (ITI) was defined as the number of days between the last negative HIV test and the current testing visit or first positive test. Correlates of the log10-transformed ITI were determined using GEE linear regression.
Between 2003 and 2010, the median ITI among MSM seeking HIV testing at the STD Clinic and GCHP were 215 (IQR: 124–409) and 257 (IQR: 148–503) days, respectively. In multivariate analyses, younger age, having only male partners, and reporting ≥10 male sex partners in the last year were associated with shorter ITIs at both testing sites (p<0.05). Among GCHP attendees, having a regular healthcare provider, seeking a test as part of a regular schedule, and inhaled nitrite use in the last year were also associated with shorter ITIs (p<0.001). Compared to MSM testing HIV-negative, MSM newly diagnosed with HIV had longer ITIs at the STD Clinic (median of 213 versus 278 days; p=0.01) and GCHP (median 255 versus 359 days; p=0.02).
Although MSM in King County appear to be testing at frequent intervals, further efforts are needed to reduce the time that HIV-infected persons are unaware of their status.
HIV screening; men who have sex with men; testing frequency; late diagnosis
Rett syndrome, a severe X-linked neurodevelopmental disorder caused by mutations in the gene encoding methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (Mecp2), is associated with a highly irregular respiratory pattern including severe upper-airway dysfunction. Recent work suggests that hyperexcitability of the Hering–Breuer reflex (HBR) pathway contributes to respiratory dysrhythmia in Mecp2 mutant mice. To assess how enhanced HBR input impacts respiratory entrainment by sensory afferents in closed-loop in vivo-like conditions, we investigated the input (vagal stimulus trains) – output (phrenic bursting) entrainment via the HBR in wild-type and MeCP2-deficient mice. Using the in situ perfused brainstem preparation, which maintains an intact pontomedullary axis capable of generating an in vivo-like respiratory rhythm in the absence of the HBR, we mimicked the HBR feedback input by stimulating the vagus nerve (at threshold current, 0.5 ms pulse duration, 75 Hz pulse frequency, 100 ms train duration) at an inter-burst frequency matching that of the intrinsic oscillation of the inspiratory motor output of each preparation. Using this approach, we observed significant input-output entrainment in wild-type mice as measured by the maximum of the cross-correlation function, the peak of the instantaneous relative phase distribution, and the mutual information of the instantaneous phases. This entrainment was associated with a reduction in inspiratory duration during feedback stimulation. In contrast, the strength of input-output entrainment was significantly weaker in Mecp2−/+ mice. However, Mecp2−/+ mice also had a reduced inspiratory duration during stimulation, indicating that reflex behavior in the HBR pathway was intact. Together, these observations suggest that the respiratory network compensates for enhanced sensitivity of HBR inputs by reducing HBR input-output entrainment.
closed-loop; entrainment; vagus; Hering–Breuer reflex; Mecp2
Recent findings in the genetics of neurodevelopmental syndromes have ushered in an exciting era of discovery in which substrates of neurologic dysfunction are being identified at the synaptic and microcircuit levels in mouse models of these disorders. We review recent progress in this area, focusing on two examples of mouse models of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs): Mecp2 models of Rett syndrome, and a Met-knockout model of non-syndromic forms of autism. In both cases, a dominant theme is changes in synaptic strength, associated with hyper- or hypoconnectivity in specific microcircuits. Alterations in intrinsic neuronal excitability are also found, but do not appear to be as common. The microcircuit-specific nature of synaptic changes observed in these ASD models indicates that it will be necessary to define mechanisms of circuit dysfunction on a case-by-case basis, not only in neocortex but also in brainstem and other subcortical areas. Thus, functional microcircuit analysis is emerging as an important line of investigation, highly complementary to neurogenetic and molecular strategies, and holds promise for generating models of the underlying pathophysiology and for guiding development of novel therapeutic strategies.
In September of 2011, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), the International Rett Syndrome Foundation (IRSF) and the Rett Syndrome Research Trust (RSRT) convened a workshop involving a broad cross-section of basic scientists, clinicians and representatives from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the pharmaceutical industry and private foundations to assess the state of the art in animal studies of Rett syndrome (RTT). The aim of the workshop was to identify crucial knowledge gaps and to suggest scientific priorities and best practices for the use of animal models in preclinical evaluation of potential new RTT therapeutics. This review summarizes outcomes from the workshop and extensive follow-up discussions among participants, and includes: (1) a comprehensive summary of the physiological and behavioral phenotypes of RTT mouse models to date, and areas in which further phenotypic analyses are required to enhance the utility of these models for translational studies; (2) discussion of the impact of genetic differences among mouse models, and methodological differences among laboratories, on the expression and analysis, respectively, of phenotypic traits; and (3) definitions of the standards that the community of RTT researchers can implement for rigorous preclinical study design and transparent reporting to ensure that decisions to initiate costly clinical trials are grounded in reliable preclinical data.
Over-the-counter personal lubricants are used frequently during vaginal and anal intercourse, but they have not been extensively tested for biological effects that might influence HIV transmission. We evaluated the in vitro toxicity anti-HIV-1 activity and osmolality of popular lubricants. A total of 41 lubricants were examined and compared to Gynol II and Carraguard as positive and negative controls for toxicity, respectively. Cytotoxicity was assessed using the XTT assay. The MAGI assay with R5 and X4 HIV-1 laboratory strains was used to evaluate antiviral activity. The effect of the lubricants on differentiated Caco-2 cell monolayers (transepithelial electrical resistance, TEER) was also measured. None of the lubricants tested showed significant activity against HIV-1. Surprisingly, four of them, Astroglide Liquid, Astroglide Warming Liquid, Astroglide Glycerin & Paraben-Free Liquid, and Astroglide Silken Secret, significantly enhanced HIV-1 replication (p<0.0001). A common ingredient in three of these preparations is polyquaternium-15. In vitro testing of a chemically related compound (MADQUAT) confirmed that this similarly augmented HIV-1 replication. Most of the lubricants were found to be hyperosmolar and the TEER value dropped approximately 60% 2 h after exposure to all lubricants tested. Cells treated with Carraguard, saline, and cell controls maintained about 100% initial TEER value after 2–6 h. We have identified four lubricants that significantly increase HIV-1 replication in vitro. In addition, the epithelial damage caused by these and many other lubricants may have implications for enhancing HIV transmission in vivo. These data emphasize the importance of performing more rigorous safety testing on these products.
Home-use HIV tests have the potential to increase testing and may be used by sex partners to inform sexual decision-making. To our knowledge, this is the first report of an individual diagnosed with HIV using a home-use test with a sex partner.
We are conducting a randomized controlled trial of home self-testing for HIV using the OraQuick ADVANCE® HIV-1/2 Antibody Test on oral fluids. In 2011, a 27-year-old, homeless, Latino man who has sex with men not enrolled in the trial (the case) reported receiving a reactive result from a diverted study kit. When interviewed by study staff, the case reported that, 11 months prior, he had unprotected anal sex with a trial subject without discussing HIV status. Afterwards, the subject asked the case if he would like to test, performed the test, and disclosed the reactive result. The case reported altering his behavior to decrease the risk of HIV transmission to subsequent partners and sought care two months later.
This case demonstrates that home-use HIV tests will be used by sex partners to learn and disclose HIV status and inform sexual decision-making. It also highlights concerns regarding the absence of counseling and the potential for delayed entry into HIV care. Additional research must be done to determine under what circumstances home-use tests can be used to increase awareness of HIV status, how they impact linkage to care among persons newly diagnosed with HIV, and whether they can be safely used to increase the accuracy of serosorting.
HIV screening; Home-use tests; Men who have sex with men; Serosorting; Rapid HIV testing
Brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and its receptor, TrkB, are highly expressed in the nucleus tractus solitarius (nTS), the principal target of cardiovascular primary afferent input to the brainstem. However, little is known about the role of BDNF signaling in nTS in cardiovascular homeostasis. We examined whether BDNF in nTS modulates cardiovascular function in vivo and regulates synaptic and/or neuronal activity in isolated brainstem slices. Microinjection of BDNF into the rat medial nTS (mnTS), a region critical for baroreflex control of sympathetic outflow, produced dose-dependent increases in mean arterial pressure (MAP), heart rate (HR) and lumbar sympathetic nerve activity (LSNA) that were blocked by the tyrosine kinase inhibitor K252a. In contrast, immunoneutralization of endogenous BDNF (antiBDNF), or microinjection of K252a alone, decreased MAP, HR and LSNA. The effects of antiBDNF were abolished by blockade of ionotropic glutamate receptors, indicating a role for glutamate signaling in the response to BDNF. In vitro, BDNF reduced the amplitude of miniature excitatory postsynaptic currents (mEPSCs) as well as solitary tract (TS)-evoked EPSC amplitude and action potential discharge (APD) in second-order nTS neurons. BDNF effects on EPSCs were independent of GABAergic signaling and ablated by AMPA receptor blockade. In contrast, K252a increased spontaneous EPSC frequency and TS-evoked EPSC amplitude. BDNF also attenuated APD evoked by injection of depolarizing current into second-order neurons, indicating reduced intrinsic neuronal excitability. Our data demonstrate that BDNF signaling in mnTS plays a tonic role in regulating cardiovascular function, likely via modulation of primary afferent glutamatergic excitatory transmission and neural activity.
sympathetic nervous system; synaptic transmission; TrkB
Although current performance measures recommend smoking cessation counseling at the time of acute myocardial infarction (AMI), ACC/AHA guidelines recommend pharmacotherapy as well. The aim of this study was to describe the prevalence and correlates of smoking cessation pharmacotherapy in hospitalized patients with AMI.
In the 24-center TRIUMPH registry, 4340 AMI patients underwent detailed interviews and 1631 reported smoking within 30 days of admission. Prescription of first-line smoking cessation medications at discharge was assessed by medical record review. All patient-related factors associated with smoking cessation treatment, based on literature review, were included in hierarchical modified log Poisson models.
Only 14% (222/1631) of AMI patients who smoked were prescribed smoking cessation medication at discharge. After multivariable adjustment for patient characteristics, there was significant variation across sites (range: 0–28%, median rate ratio 1.41 (95% CI 1.23–2.67)). Independent factors associated with smoking cessation pharmacotherapy included older age (rate ratio 0.81 per 10-year increment, 95% CI 0.71–0.93), high school graduation (rate ratio 1.37, 95% CI 1.13–1.66), heavy cigarette usage (≥ 20/day)(rate ratio 3.08, 95% CI 2.20–4.12), in-hospital revascularization (rate ratio 1.41, 95% CI 1.03–1.94), and instructions on smoking cessation (rate ratio 2.37, 95% CI 1.40–4.01).
Smokers surviving an AMI are infrequently prescribed guideline recommended smoking cessation treatments and there is considerable variation across hospitals. Older, less educated, and lighter smokers are less likely to receive aggressive smoking cessation treatment. Novel strategies to augment current practice are needed.
Obesity is a major risk factor for insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease. The pathophysiology of obesity is associated with chronic low-grade inflammation. Adipose tissue in obesity is significantly infiltrated by macrophages that secrete cytokines. The mechanisms of interaction between macrophages and adipocytes, leading to macrophage activation and increased cytokine release, remain to be elucidated. We reasoned that an adipocyte-derived factor might stimulate activation of macrophages. We have identified pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF) as a mediator of inflammation that is secreted by adipocytes and mediates macrophage activation. Recombinant PEDF activates macrophages to release tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and interleukin-1 (IL-1). The PEDF receptor adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL) is required for PEDF-mediated macrophage activation. Selective inhibition of ATGL on macrophages attenuates PEDF-induced TNF production, and PEDF enhances the phosphorylation of p38 and extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 mitogen-activated protein kinases. PEDF administration to rats results in increased serum TNF levels, and insulin resistance. Together, these findings suggest that PEDF secreted by adipocytes contributes to the onset and maintenance of chronic inflammation in obesity, and may be a therapeutic target in ameliorating insulin resistance.
Postnatal deficits in Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) are thought to contribute to pathogenesis of Rett syndrome (RTT), a progressive neurodevelopmental disorder caused by mutations in the gene encoding methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (MeCP2). In Mecp2 null mice, a model of RTT, BDNF deficits are most pronounced in structures important for autonomic and respiratory control, functions that are severely affected in RTT patients. However, relatively little is known about how these deficits affect neuronal function or how they may be linked to specific RTT endophenotypes. To approach these issues we analyzed synaptic function in the brainstem nucleus tractus solitarius (nTS), the principal site for integration of primary visceral afferent inputs to central autonomic pathways and a region in which we found markedly reduced levels of BDNF in Mecp2 mutants. Our results demonstrate that the amplitude of spontaneous miniature and evoked EPSCs in nTS neurons is significantly increased in Mecp2 null mice and, accordingly, that mutant cells are more likely than wildtype to fire action potentials in response to primary afferent stimulation. These changes occur without any increase in intrinsic neuronal excitability and are unaffected by blockade of inhibitory GABA currents. However, this synaptopathy is associated with decreased BDNF availability in the primary afferent pathway and can be rescued by application of exogenous BDNF. On the basis of these findings we hypothesize that altered sensory gating in nTS contributes to cardiorespiratory instability in RTT and that nTS is a site at which restoration of normal BDNF signaling could help reestablish normal homeostatic controls.
cardiorespiratory; synapse; bdnf; nucleus tractus solitarius; glutamate; brainstem
A summary is presented of a range of mathematical models that relate to topical microbicidal molecules, applied vaginally to inhibit HIV transmission. These models contribute to the fundamental understanding of the functioning of those molecules, as introduced in different delivery systems. They also provide computational tools that can be employed in the practical design and evaluation of vaginal microbicide products. Mathematical modeling can be implemented, using stochastic principles, to understand the probability of infection by sexually transmitted HIV virions. This provides a frame of reference for the deterministic models of the various processes that underlie HIV transmission and its inhibition, including: the temporal and spatial history of HIV migration from semen to vaginal epithelial surfaces and thence to the underlying stroma; the time and spatial distribution of microbicidal drugs as delivered by various vehicles (e.g., gels, rings, films, and tablets)—this is central to understanding microbicide product pharmacokinetics; and the time and space history of the drug interactions with HIV directly and with host cells for HIV within the vaginal environment—this informs the understanding of microbicide pharmacodynamics. Models that characterize microbicide functionality and performance should and can interface with both in vitro and in vivo experimental studies. They can serve as a rapidly applied, inexpensive tool, to facilitate microbicide R&D, in advance of more costly and time consuming clinical trials.
Microbicides; HIV; Mathematical models; Vagina; Pharmacokinetics; Pharmacodynamics
A recent study in South Africa has confirmed, for the first time, that a vaginal gel formulation of the antiretroviral drug Tenofovir, when applied topically, significantly inhibits sexual HIV transmission to women . However the gel for this drug, and anti-HIV microbicide gels in general, have not been designed using full understanding of how gel spreading and retention in the vagina govern successful drug delivery. Elastohydrodynamic lubrication theory can be applied to model such spreading of microbicide gels, which are inherently non-Newtonian [13,15]. A yield stress is emerging as one of the important properties of microbicide gel vehicle deployment, as this may improve retention within the vaginal canal. On the other hand, a yield stress may decrease the initial extent of the coating flow. Here, we first explain a certain yield stress paradox observed generally in many lubrication flows. Four conditions are determined, via scaling analysis, which mitigate the inconsistency in the use of lubrication theory to analyze the specific problem of elastic wall squeezing flow of yield stress fluid. Parameters characterizing these conditions are obtained experimentally for a test gel. Using them, it is shown that the lubrication approximation may be applied to the elastic wall-squeezing problem for this gel.
Yield stress; Carreau fluid; Lubrication flow; Anti-HIV microbicide; Squeezing flow; Biviscosity model
In a previous trial of massage for osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee, we demonstrated feasibility, safety and possible efficacy, with benefits that persisted at least 8 weeks beyond treatment termination.
We performed a RCT to identify the optimal dose of massage within an 8-week treatment regimen and to further examine durability of response. Participants were 125 adults with OA of the knee, randomized to one of four 8-week regimens of a standardized Swedish massage regimen (30 or 60 min weekly or biweekly) or to a Usual Care control. Outcomes included the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Arthritis Index (WOMAC), visual analog pain scale, range of motion, and time to walk 50 feet, assessed at baseline, 8-, 16-, and 24-weeks.
WOMAC Global scores improved significantly (24.0 points, 95% CI ranged from 15.3–32.7) in the 60-minute massage groups compared to Usual Care (6.3 points, 95% CI 0.1–12.8) at the primary endpoint of 8-weeks. WOMAC subscales of pain and functionality, as well as the visual analog pain scale also demonstrated significant improvements in the 60-minute doses compared to usual care. No significant differences were seen in range of motion at 8-weeks, and no significant effects were seen in any outcome measure at 24-weeks compared to usual care. A dose-response curve based on WOMAC Global scores shows increasing effect with greater total time of massage, but with a plateau at the 60-minute/week dose.
Given the superior convenience of a once-weekly protocol, cost savings, and consistency with a typical real-world massage protocol, the 60-minute once weekly dose was determined to be optimal, establishing a standard for future trials.
To investigate the effects of daily chromium picolinate supplementation on serum measures of glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity in patients at high risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus.
We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, modified cross-over clinical trial with 6-month sequences of intervention and placebo followed by a 6-month postintervention assessment. Adult patients with impaired fasting glucose, impaired glucose tolerance, or metabolic syndrome were enrolled. Participants received 6-month sequences of chromium picolinate or placebo at 1 of 2 dosages (500 or 1000 mcg daily). Primary outcome measures were change in fasting plasma glucose, 2-hour plasma glucose during oral glucose tolerance testing, fasting and 2-hour insulin, and homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR). Secondary outcomes included anthropometric measures, blood pressure, endothelial function, hemoglobin A1c, lipids, and urinary microalbumin.
Fifty-nine participants were enrolled. No changes were seen in glucose level, insulin level, or HOMA-IR (all, P>.05) after 6 months of chromium at either dosage level (500 mcg or 1000 mcg daily) when compared with placebo. None of the secondary outcomes improved with either chromium dosage compared with placebo (P>.05).
Chromium supplementation does not appear to ameliorate insulin resistance or impaired glucose metabolism in patients at risk for type 2 diabetes and thus is unlikely to attenuate diabetes risk.
Topical microbicides that block the sexual transmission of HIV and herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) are desperately needed to reduce the incidence of HIV infections worldwide. Previously we completed phase 3 testing of the carrageenan-based gel Carraguard. Although the trial did not show that Carraguard is effective in preventing HIV transmission during vaginal sex, it did show that Carraguard is safe when used weekly for up to 2 years. Moreover, Carraguard has in vitro activity against human papillomavirus (HPV) and HSV-2 and favorable physical and rheological properties, which makes it a useful vehicle to deliver antiviral agents such as zinc acetate. To that end, we previously reported that a prototype zinc acetate carrageenan gel protects macaques against vaginal challenge with combined simian-human immunodeficiency virus reverse transcriptase (SHIV-RT). Herein, we report the safety and efficacy of a series of zinc acetate and/or carrageenan gels. The gels protected mice (75 to 85% survival; P < 0.001) against high-dose (106-PFU) HSV-2 vaginal or rectal challenge. In contrast, zinc acetate formulated in HEC (hydroxyethylcellulose; or the Universal Placebo) failed to protect mice against the high-dose vaginal HSV-2 challenge (similar to aqueous zinc acetate solution and the placebo controls). The gels were found to be effective spreading gels, exhibited limited toxicity in vitro, caused minimal damage to the architecture of the cervicovaginal and rectal mucosae in vivo, and induced no increased susceptibility to HSV-2 infection in a mouse model. Our results provide a strong rationale to further optimize and evaluate the zinc acetate/carrageenan gels for their ability to block the sexual transmission of HIV and HSV-2.
The immune response to infection or injury coordinates host defense and tissue repair, but also has the capacity to damage host tissues. Recent advances in understanding protective mechanisms have found neural circuits that suppress release of damaging cytokines. Stimulation of the vagus nerve protects from excessive cytokine production and ameliorates experimental inflammatory disease. This mechanism, the inflammatory reflex, requires the α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (α7nAChR), a ligand-gated ion channel expressed on macrophages, lymphocytes, neurons and other cells. To investigate cell-specific function of α7nAChR in the inflammatory reflex, we created chimeric mice by cross-transferring bone marrow between wild-type (WT) and α7nAChR-deficient mice. Deficiency of α7nAChR in bone marrow–derived cells significantly impaired vagus nerve–mediated regulation of tumor necrosis factor (TNF), whereas α7nAChR deficiency in neurons and other cells had no significant effect. In agreement with recent work, the inflammatory reflex was not functional in nude mice, because functional T cells are required for the integrity of the pathway. To investigate the role of T-cell α7nAChR, we adoptively transferred α7nAChR-deficient or WT T cells to nude mice. Transfer of WT and α7nAChR-deficient T cells restored function, indicating that α7nAChR expression on T cells is not necessary for this pathway. Together, these results indicate that α7nAChR expression in bone marrow–derived non–T cells is required for the integrity of the inflammatory reflex.
Vaginal gels may act as physical barriers to HIV following semen deposition. However, the extent and significance of this effect are not well understood. During male-to-female sexual transmission of HIV, semen containing infectious HIV is present within the lower female reproductive tract. In cases where a topical gel has previously been applied to the vaginal epithelium, virions must move through gel layers before reaching vulnerable tissue. This additional barrier could affect the functioning of anti-HIV microbicide gels and placebos. To better understand HIV transport in gels, we: (1) quantified diffusion coefficients of HIV virions within semi-solid delivery vehicles; and (2) tested the barrier functioning of thin gel layers in a Transwell system. Two gels used as placebos in microbicides clinical trials, hydroxyethyl cellulose (HEC) and methylcellulose (MC), were found to hinder HIV transport in vitro. The diffusion coefficients for HIV virions in undiluted HEC and MC were 4 ± 2 × 10−12 cm2/s and 7 ± 1 × 10−12 cm2/s respectively. These are almost 10,000 times lower than the diffusion coefficient for HIV in water. Substantial gel dilution (80%: diluent/gel, v/v) was required before diffusion coefficients rose to even two orders of magnitude lower than those in water. In the Transwell system, gel layers of approximately 150-μm thickness reduced HIV transport. There was a log reduction in the amount of HIV that had breached the Transwell membrane after 0-, 4-, and 8- hour incubations. The ability of a gel to function as a physical barrier to HIV transport from semen to tissue will also depend on its distribution over the epithelium and effects of dilution by vaginal fluids or semen. Results here can serve as a baseline for future design of products that act as barriers to HIV transmission. The potential barrier function of placebo gels should be considered in the design and interpretation of microbicides clinical trials.
HIV prevention; microbicides; gels; diffusion; drug delivery; placebos
We present a multiplexed, Fourier-domain low coherence interferometry (mLCI) instrument for in vivo measurement of intravaginal microbicide gel coating thickness distribution over the surface of the vaginal epithelium. The mLCI instrument uses multiple delivery fibers to acquire depth resolved reflection profiles across large scanned tissue areas. Here mLCI has been adapted into an endoscopic system with a custom imaging module for simultaneous, co-registered measurements with fluorimetric scans of the same surface. The resolution, optical signal-to-noise, and cross-talk of the mLCI instrument are characterized to evaluate performance. Validation measurements of gel thickness are made using a calibration socket. Initial results from a clinical study are presented to show the in vivo capability of the dual-modality system for assessing the distribution of microbicide gel vehicles in the lower human female reproductive tract.
(120.3180) Interferometry; (120.3890) Medical optics instrumentation; (170.4500) Optical coherence tomography
Among 288 HIV-1-infected, breastfeeding women who received zidovudine prophylaxis and were followed with their infants in Nairobi, we found no associations between maternal genetic polymorphisms in CCR5 (59029G/A, 59353T/C, 59356T/C, 59402G/A), RANTES (−403G/A), and SDF-1 (3′801G/A) and mother-to-child HIV-1 transmission; plasma, cervical, and breastmilk viral loads; or breastmilk chemokine concentrations.
chemokines; CCR5; RANTES; SDF-1; HIV-1 transmission