Visceral adiposity in the setting of HIV infection and antiretroviral therapy (ART) is not fully understood, and treatment options remain limited. Telmisartan, an angiotensin receptor blocker and partial PPAR-γ agonist, has been shown to decrease visceral fat and improve metabolic and inflammatory parameters in HIV-uninfected subjects.
HIV-infected subjects with HIV-1 RNA <50 copies/mL on ART and (women/men) waist circumference >94/95 cm or waist: hip ratio >0.88/0.94 received open-label telmisartan 40 mg po daily for 24 weeks. Adipose tissue (AT) volumes were quantified by L4–L5 single slice computed tomography. Metabolic and inflammatory markers were obtained fasting. Thirty-five subjects provided 80% power to detect a 10% 24-week decrease in visceral AT (VAT, two-sided α = 0.05).
Thirty-five subjects enrolled and completed the protocol. At entry (median or %): age 49 years, 43% female, 77% non-white, 91% non-smokers, CD4+ T cell count 590 cells/mm3, BMI 31 kg/m2. AT responses were heterogeneous, with statistically significant losses of median (IQR) total (TAT, 2.9% (−9.8, 0.7), p = 0.03) and subcutaneous (SAT, −2.7% (−9.8, 1.1), p = 0.03) AT, but not VAT (−2.7% (−20.5, 14.2), p = 0.53). Significant decreases in waist circumference and waist:hip ratio occurred (both p<0.001) without BMI or weight changes. In an exploratory analysis, significant increases in TNF-α occurred among female subjects without changes in other inflammatory or metabolic markers. No related adverse events occurred.
Telmisartan was well tolerated. Small losses of AT from all depots were observed after 24 weeks of telmisartan therapy. Further study is needed to determine whether HIV-infected patients can receive metabolic benefits from telmisartan.
Viral suppression and viral breakthrough impact the humoral immune response to HIV infection. We evaluated the impact of viral suppression and viral breakthrough on results obtained with two cross-sectional HIV incidence assays.
All samples were collected from adults in the US who were HIV infected for >2 years. Samples were tested with the BED capture enzyme immunoassay (BED-CEIA) which measures the proportion of IgG that is HIV-specific, and with an antibody avidity assay based on the Genetic Systems 1/2+ O ELISA. We tested 281 samples: (1) 30 samples from 18 patients with natural control of HIV-1 infection known as elite controllers or suppressors (2) 72 samples from 18 adults on antiretroviral therapy (ART), with 1 sample before and 2–6 samples after ART initiation, and (3) 179 samples from 20 virally-suppressed adults who had evidence of viral breakthrough receiving ART (>400 copies/ml HIV RNA) and with subsequent viral suppression.
For elite suppressors, 10/18 had BED-CEIA values <0.8 normalized optical density units (OD-n) and these values did not change significantly over time. For patients receiving ART, 14/18 had BED-CEIA values that decreased over time, with a median decrease of 0.42 OD-n (range 0.10 to 0.63)/time point receiving ART. Three patterns of BED-CEIA values were observed during viral breakthrough: (1) values that increased then returned to pre-breakthrough values when viral suppression was re-established, (2) values that increased after viral breakthrough, and (3) values that did not change with viral breakthrough.
Viral suppression and viral breakthrough were associated with changes in BED-CEIA values, reflecting changes in the proportion of HIV-specific IgG. These changes can result in misclassification of patients with long-term HIV infection as recently infected using the BED-CEIA, thereby influencing a falsely high value for cross-sectional incidence estimates.
Frailty is associated with morbidity and premature mortality among elderly HIV-uninfected adults, but the determinants and consequences of frailty in HIV-infected populations remain unclear. We evaluated the correlates of frailty, and the impact of frailty on mortality in a cohort of aging injection drug users (IDUs).
Frailty was assessed using standard criteria among HIV-infected and uninfected IDUs in 6-month intervals from 2005 to 2008. Generalized linear mixed-model analyses assessed correlates of frailty. Cox proportional hazards models estimated risk for all-cause mortality.
Of 1230 participants at baseline, the median age was 48 years and 29% were HIV-infected; the frailty prevalence was 12.3%. In multivariable analysis of 3,365 frailty measures, HIV-infected IDUs had an increased likelihood of frailty (OR, 1.66; 95% CI, 1.24–2.21) compared to HIV-uninfected IDUs; the association was strongest (OR, 2.37; 95% CI, 1.62–3.48) among HIV-infected IDUs with advanced HIV disease (CD4<350 cells/mm3 and detectable HIV RNA). No significant association was seen with less advanced disease. Sociodemographic factors, comorbidity, depressive symptoms, and prescription drug abuse were also independently associated with frailty. Mortality risk was increased with frailty alone (HR 2.63, 95% CI, 1.23–5.66), HIV infection alone (HR 3.29, 95% CI, 1.85–5.88), and being both HIV-infected and frail (HR, 7.06; 95%CI 3.49–14.3).
Frailty was strongly associated with advanced HIV disease, but IDUs with well-controlled HIV had a similar prevalence to HIV-uninfected IDUs. Frailty was independently associated with mortality, with a marked increase in mortality risk for IDUs with both frailty and HIV infection.
The transmembrane envelope protein gp41 of the human immunodeficiency virus HIV-1 plays an important role during infection allowing fusion of the viral and cellular membrane. In addition, there is increasing evidence that gp41 may contribute to the immunodeficiency induced by HIV-1. Recombinant gp41 and a synthetic peptide corresponding to a highly conserved domain in gp41, the immunosuppressive (isu) domain, have been shown to inhibit mitogen-induced activation of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and to increase release of IL-6 and IL-10 from these cells. We recently reported that a single mutation in the isu domain of gp41 abrogated the immunosuppressive properties and that HIV-1 sequences containing such abrogating mutations had never been isolated from infected individuals. Here, we studied the influence of the isu peptide on the release of 66 cytokines and the expression of 27,000 genes in PBMCs. Incubation of PBMCs with isu peptide homopolymers increased the expression of 16 cytokines among them IL-6 and IL-10, and decreased that of IL-2 and CXCL9. Interestingly, the extend of cytokine modulation was donor-dependent. Among the genes up-regulated were IL-6, IL-8, IL-10 but also MMP-1, TREM-1 and IL-1beta. Most importantly, genes involved in innate immunity such as FCN1 and SEPP1 were found down-regulated. Many changes in cytokine expression demonstrated in our experiments were also found in HIV-1 infected individuals. These data indicate that the isu domain of gp41 has a broad impact on gene expression and cytokine release and therefore may be involved in HIV-1 induced immunopathogenesis.
Idiopathic CD4 lymphocytopenia (ICL) is a rare immune deficiency characterized by a protracted CD4+ T cell loss of unknown etiology and by the occurrence of opportunistic infections similar to those seen in AIDS. We investigated whether a defect in responses to cytokines that control CD4+ T cell homeostasis could play a role in ICL. Immunophenotype and signaling responses to interleukin-7 (IL-7), IL-2, and thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) were analyzed by flow cytometry in CD4+ T cells from 15 ICL patients and 15 healthy blood donors. The induction of phospho-STAT5 after IL-7 stimulation was decreased in memory CD4+ T cells of some ICL patients, which correlated with a decreased expression of the IL-7Rα receptor chain (R = 0.74, p<0.005) and with lower CD4+ T cell counts (R = 0.69, p<0.005). IL-2 responses were also impaired, both in the Treg and conventional memory subsets. Decreased IL-2 responses correlated with decreased IL-7 responses (R = 0.75, p<0.005), pointing to combined defects that may significantly perturb CD4+ T cell homeostasis in a subset of ICL patients. Unexpectedly, responses to the IL-7-related cytokine TSLP were increased in ICL patients, while they remained barely detectable in healthy controls. TSLP responses correlated inversely with IL-7 responses (R = −0.41; p<0.05), suggesting a cross-regulation between the two cytokine systems. In conclusion, IL-7 and IL-2 signaling are impaired in ICL, which may account for the loss of CD4+ T cell homeostasis. Increased TSLP responses point to a compensatory homeostatic mechanism that may mitigate defects in γc cytokine responses.
We investigated whether there are differences in the effects on microbial translocation (MT) and enterocyte damage by different antiretroviral therapy (ART) regimens after 1.5 years and whether antibiotic use has impact on MT. In a randomized clinical trial (NCT01445223) on first line ART, patients started either lopinavir/r (LPV/r) (n = 34) or efavirenz (EFV) containing ART (n = 37). Lipopolysaccharide (LPS), sCD14, anti-flagellin antibodies and intestinal fatty acid binding protein (I-FABP) levels were determined in plasma at baseline (BL) and week 72 (w72).
The levels of LPS and sCD14 were reduced from BL to w72 (157.5 pg/ml vs. 140.0 pg/ml, p = 0.0003; 3.13 ug/ml vs. 2.85 ug/ml, p = 0.005, respectively). The levels of anti-flagellin antibodies had decreased at w72 (0.35 vs 0.31 [OD]; p<0.0004), although significantly only in the LPV/r arm. I-FABP levels increased at w72 (2.26 ng/ml vs 3.13 ng/ml; p<0.0001), although significantly in EFV treated patients only. Patients given antibiotics at BL had lower sCD14 levels at w72 as revealed by ANCOVA compared to those who did not receive (Δ = −0.47 µg/ml; p = 0.015).
Markers of MT and enterocyte damage are elevated in untreated HIV-1 infected patients. Long-term ART reduces the levels, except for I-FABP which role as a marker of MT is questionable in ART-experienced patients. Why the enterocyte damage seems to persist remains to be established. Also antibiotic usage may influence the kinetics of the markers of MT.
Aging is associated with immune dysfunction and the related development of conditions with an inflammatory pathogenesis. Some of these immune changes are also observed in HIV infection, but the interaction between immune changes with aging and HIV infection are unknown. Whilst sex differences in innate immunity are recognized, little research into innate immune aging has been performed on women.
This cross-sectional study of HIV positive and negative women used whole blood flow cytometric analysis to characterize monocyte and CD8+ T cell subsets. Plasma markers of innate immune activation were measured using standard ELISA-based assays.
HIV positive women exhibited elevated plasma levels of the innate immune activation markers CXCL10 (p<0.001), soluble CD163 (sCD163, p = 0.001), sCD14 (p = 0.022), neopterin (p = 0.029) and an increased proportion of CD16+ monocytes (p = 0.009) compared to uninfected controls. Levels of the innate immune aging biomarkers sCD163 and the proportion of CD16+ monocytes were equivalent to those observed in HIV negative women aged 14.5 and 10.6 years older, respectively. CXCL10 increased with age at an accelerated rate in HIV positive women (p = 0.002) suggesting a synergistic effect between HIV and aging on innate immune activation. Multivariable modeling indicated that age-related increases in innate immune biomarkers CXCL10 and sCD163 are independent of senescent changes in CD8+ T lymphocytes.
Quantifying the impact of HIV on immune aging reveals that HIV infection in women confers the equivalent of a 10–14 year increase in the levels of innate immune aging markers. These changes may contribute to the increased risk of inflammatory age-related diseases in HIV positive women.
To assess associations between abacavir (ABC) use and systemic inflammation.
Retrospective case-control study.
MACS & WIHS cohort participants who initiated ABC were matched, using propensity score methods, to ABC-unexposed persons. Levels of hsCRP(μg/mL), IL-6(pg/mL), and D-dimer (μg/mL) were measured from pre-HAART and on-HAART plasma. Random-effects models compared markers by ABC exposure and by changes from pre-HAART levels.
Biomarkers were measured in N=508 matched pairs (328 women; 180 men). Pre-HAART levels did not differ by exposure group except that hsCRP levels were higher among WIHS women who subsequently used ABC (p=0.04). Regardless of ABC use, mean hsCRP increases and D-dimer reductions were seen when comparing pre- to on-HAART levels, in the overall group (28% and -27%), for MACS men (28% and -31%) and for WIHS women (29% and -24% (p<0.01 for all); IL-6 levels declined in MACS men (p=0.02). No adjusted biomarker level differences existed by ABC exposure at the on-HAART visit. HIV RNA reductions correlated with D-dimer (r = 0.14, p < 0.01) and IL-6 (r = 0.12, p < 0.01) reductions. Associations between ABC use and mean biomarker levels were modified by pre-HAART ART experience. Renal dysfunction was equally likely among non-ABC and ABC recipients.
ABC use was not associated with plasma elevations in hsCRP, IL-6 and d-dimer. Mechanisms other than increased systemic inflammation may account for ABC’s reported association with increased cardiovascular disease. HAART -associated reductions in D-dimer and IL-6 were apparent regardless of ABC use and were correlated with HIV RNA reductions.
HIV infection; inflammation; HAART; abacavir; cytokines
GBV-C infection is associated with prolonged survival and with reduced T cell activation in HIV-infected subjects not receiving combination antiretroviral therapy (cART). The relationship between GBV-C and T cell activation in HIV-infected subjects was examined. HIV-infected subjects on cART with non-detectable HIV viral load (VL) or cART naïve subjects were studied. GBV-C VL and HIV VL were determined. Cell surface markers of activation (CD38+/HLA-DR+), proliferation (Ki-67+), and HIV entry co-receptor expression (CCR5+ and CXCR4+) on total CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, and on naïve, central memory (CM), effector memory (EM), and effector CD4+ and CD8+ subpopulations were measured by flow cytometry. In subjects with suppressed HIV VL, GBV-C was consistently associated with reduced activation in naïve, CM, EM, and effector CD4+ cells. GBV-C was associated with reduced CD4+ and CD8+ T cell surface expression of activation and proliferation markers, independent of HIV VL classification. GBV-C was also associated with higher proportions of naïve CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, and with lower proportions of EM CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. In conclusion, GBV-C infection was associated with reduced activation of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in both HIV viremic and HIV RNA suppressed patients. Those with GBV-C infection demonstrated an increased proportion of naive T cells and a reduction in T cell activation and proliferation independent of HIV VL classification, including those with suppressed HIV VL on cART. Since HIV pathogenesis is thought to be accelerated by T cell activation, these results may contribute to prolonged survival among HIV infected individuals co-infected with GBV-C. Furthermore, since cART therapy does not reduce T cell activation to levels seen in HIV-uninfected people, GBV-C infection may be beneficial for HIV-related diseases in those effectively treated with anti-HIV therapy.
HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) remain prevalent despite improved antiretroviral treatment (ART), and it is essential to have a sensitive and specific HAND screening tool.
Participants were 200 HIV-infected US military beneficiaries, managed early in the course of HIV infection, had few comorbidities, and had open access to ART. Participants completed a comprehensive, seven-domain (16-test), neuropsychological battery (∼120 min); neurocognitive impairment (NCI) was determined using a standardized score derived from demographically adjusted T-scores (global deficit score ≥0.5). Restricting the estimated administration time of the screening battery to < = 20 minutes, we examined the sensitivity and specificity of detecting NCI for all possible combinations of 2-, 3-, and 4- tests from the comprehensive battery.
Participants were relatively healthy (median CD4 count: 546 cells/mm3) with 64% receiving ART. Prevalence of NCI was low (19%). The best 2-test screener included the Stroop Color Test and the Hopkins Verbal Learning Test-Revised (11 min; sensitivity = 73%; specificity = 83%); the best 3-test screener included the above measures plus the Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test (PASAT; 16 min; sensitivity = 86%; specificity = 75%). The addition of Action Fluency to the above three tests improved specificity (18 min; sensitivity = 86%; specificity = 87%).
Combinations of widely accepted neuropsychological tests with brief implementation time demonstrated good sensitivity and specificity compared to a time intensive neuropsychological test battery. Tests of verbal learning, attention/working memory, and processing speed are particularly useful in detecting NCI. Utilizing validated, easy to administer, traditional neuropsychological tests with established normative data may represent an excellent approach to screening for NCI in HIV.
A new class of antiretrovirals, AntiViral-HyperActivation Limiting Therapeutics (AV-HALTs), has been proposed as a disease-modifying therapy to both reduce Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 (HIV-1) RNA levels and the excessive immune activation now recognized as the major driver of not only the continual loss of CD4+ T cells and progression to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), but also of the emergence of both AIDS-defining and non-AIDS events that negatively impact upon morbidity and mortality despite successful (ie, fully suppressive) therapy. VS411, the first-in-class AV-HALT, combined low-dose, slow-release didanosine with low-dose hydroxycarbamide to accomplish both objectives with a favorable toxicity profile during short-term administration. Five dose combinations were administered as VS411 to test the AV-HALT Proof-of-Concept in HIV-1-infected subjects.
Multinational, double-blind, 28-day Phase 2a dose-ranging Proof-of-Concept study of antiviral activity, immunological parameters, safety, and genotypic resistance in 58 evaluable antiretroviral-naïve HIV-1-infected adults. Randomization and allocation to study arms were carried out by a central computer system. Results were analyzed by ANOVA, Kruskal-Wallis, ANCOVA, and two-tailed paired t tests.
VS411 was well-tolerated, produced significant reductions of HIV-1 RNA levels, increased CD4+ T cell counts, and led to significant, rapid, unprecedented reductions of immune activation markers after 28 days despite incomplete viral suppression and without inhibiting HIV-1-specific immune responses. The didanosine 200 mg/HC 900 mg once-daily formulation demonstrated the greatest antiviral efficacy (HIV-1 RNA: −1.47 log10 copies/mL; CD4+ T cell count: +135 cells/mm3) and fewest adverse events.
VS411 successfully established the Proof-of-Concept that AV-HALTs can combine antiviral efficacy with rapid, potentially beneficial reductions in the excessive immune system activation associated with HIV-1 disease. Rapid reductions in markers of immune system hyperactivation and cellular proliferation were obtained despite the fact that VS411 did not attain maximal suppression of HIV RNA, suggesting this effect was due to the HALT component.
There is an urgent need to improve our understanding of the mucosal immuno-pathogenesis of HIV acquisition in the female genital tract, particularly in high-risk women such as female sex workers (FSWs). Cervical biopsy samples offer technical advantages over cytobrush sampling, but there are concerns that this might increase HIV acquisition, particularly if healing is slow and/or women do not abstain from sex during healing.
Cervical biopsy samples and cervico-vaginal swabs for co-infection diagnostics, prostate specific antigen (PSA) and immune studies were collected from 59 women, including HIV seropositive and HIV-exposed seronegative (HESN) FSWs as well as lower risk women from Nairobi, Kenya. A clinical-demographic questionnaire was administered and women were instructed to avoid sexual intercourse, douching and the insertion of tampons for 14 days. All participants underwent a repeat exam to assess healing within the 14 days, and had HIV diagnostics at six months. Cervical sampling was well tolerated, and 82% of participants had healed macroscopically by 5 days. Both self-report and PSA screening suggested high levels of compliance with pre- and post-procedure abstinence. Delayed healing was associated with vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC) and HESN status. At six-month follow up all low-risk and HESN participants remained HIV seronegative.
Cervical biopsy sampling is a safe and well-tolerated method to obtain cervical biopsies in this context, particularly if participants with VVC are excluded. As healing could be delayed up to 11 days, it is important to support (both financially and with rigorous counseling) a period of post-procedure abstinence to minimize HIV risk.
CMV-specific T-cells are crucial to control CMV-replication post-transplant. Regulatory T-cells (T-regs) are associated with a tolerant immune state and may contribute to CMV-replication. However, T-cell subsets such as T-regs and IL-17 producing T-cells (Th-17) are not well studied in this context. We explored T-regs and Th-17 frequencies during CMV-replication after transplantation.
We prospectively evaluated 30 transplant patients with CMV-viremia. We quantified CMV-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T-cells, T-regs (CD4+CD25+FoxP3+) and Th-17 frequencies using flow-cytometry and followed patients requiring anti-viral treatment. Two subsets were compared: anti-viral treatment requirement (n = 20) vs. spontaneous clearance of viremia (n = 10).
Higher initial CMV-specific CD4+ T-cells and lower T-regs were observed in patients with spontaneous clearance (p = 0.043; p = 0.021 respectively). Using a ratio of CMV-specific CD4+ T-cells to T-regs allowed prediction of viral clearance with 80% sensitivity and 90% specificity (p = 0.001). One month after stop of treatment, the same correlation was observed in patients protected from CMV-relapse. The ratio of CMV-specific CD4+ T-cells to T-regs allowed prediction of relapse with 85% sensitivity and 86% specificity (p = 0.004). Th-17 responses were not correlated with virologic outcomes.
This study provides novel insights into T-regs and Th-17 subpopulations during CMV-replication after transplantation. These preliminary data suggest that measurement of CMV-specific CD4+ T-cells together with T-regs has value in predicting spontaneous clearance of viremia and relapse.
In October 2009 the French National Authority for Health recommended that HIV testing be proposed at least once to all persons aged 15 to 70 years in all healthcare settings. We examined whether routine HIV screening with a rapid test in emergency departments (EDs) was feasible without dedicated staff, and whether newly diagnosed persons could be linked to care.
This one-year study started in December 2009 in 6 EDs in the Paris area, using the INSTI™ test. Eligible individuals were persons 18 to 70 years old who did not present for a vital emergency, for blood or sexual HIV exposure, or for HIV screening. Written informed consent was required.
Among 183 957 eligible persons, 11 401 were offered HIV testing (6.2%), of whom 7936 accepted (69.6%) and 7215 (90.9%) were tested (overall screening rate 3.9%); 1857 non eligible persons were also tested. Fifty-five new diagnoses of HIV infection were confirmed by Western blot (0.61% (95% CI 0.46–0.79). There was one false-positive rapid test result. Among the newly diagnosed persons, 48 (87%) were linked to care, of whom 36 were not lost to follow-up at month 6 (75%); median CD4 cell count was 241/mm3 (IQR: 52–423/mm3).
Screening rates were similar to those reported in opt-in studies with no dedicated staff. The rate of new diagnoses was similar to that observed in free anonymous test centres in the Paris area, and well above the prevalence (0.1%) at which testing has been shown to be cost-effective.
We assessed metabolic changes for darunavir/ritonavir (DRV/r) once daily (qd) versus atazanavir/ritonavir (ATV/r) qd with fixed-dose tenofovir/emtricitabine. This was a phase 4, multicenter, open-label, randomized exploratory study. Treatment-naive, HIV-1-infected adults received DRV/r 800/100 mg qd or ATV/r 300/100 mg qd, both with emtricitabine/tenofovir 200/300 mg qd. Primary end point: change in triglyceride levels from baseline to week 12. Secondary end points: week 12 and week 48 changes in lipid parameters, insulin sensitivity, inflammatory/coagulation/bacterial translocation biomarkers, viral load, CD4+ cell count, and week 48 changes in adipose tissue distribution and subjects' perceptions of body changes. In the DRV/r arm, 32/34 and 29/34 subjects completed weeks 12 and 48, respectively; in the ATV/r arm, 30/31 and 25/31 subjects completed weeks 12 and 48, respectively. Small changes in lipid parameters from baseline to weeks 12 and 48 were observed in both arms. Differences were noted between arms in mean changes in total cholesterol (DRV/r, 20.3 mg/dl; ATV/r, 4.6 mg/dl) and apolipoprotein A1 (DRV/r, 10.7 mg/dl; ATV/r, –0.7 mg/dl) at week 12. At week 48, no clinically relevant differences between arms were noted for changes in any lipid parameter, fasting glucose, or insulin sensitivity. Biomarkers generally decreased and efficacy parameters improved in both arms over 48 weeks. Changes in adipose tissue were small and comparable between arms. Subjects' perceptions of body changes generally improved in both study arms. This first pilot comparison in HIV-1-infected subjects suggests that DRV/r has a metabolic profile similar to ATV/r over 48 weeks of treatment. Further randomized studies are warranted.
HIV causes inflammation that can be at least partially corrected by HAART. To determine the qualitative and quantitative nature of cytokine perturbation, we compared cytokine patterns in three HIV clinical groups including HAART responders (HAART), untreated HIV non-controllers (NC), and HIV-uninfected (NEG).
Multiplex assays were used to measure 32 cytokines in a cross-sectional study of participants in the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS). Participants from 3 groups were included: HAART (n=17), NC (n=14), and HIV NEG (n=17).
Several cytokines and chemokines showed significant differences between NC and NEG participants, including elevated IP-10 and TNF-α and decreased IL-12(p40), IL-15, and FGF-2 in NC participants. Biomarker levels among HAART women more closely resembled the NEG, with the exception of TNF-α and FGF-2. Secondary analyses of the combined HAART and NC groups revealed that IP-10 showed a strong, positive correlation with viral load and negative correlation with CD4+ T cell counts. The growth factors VEGF, EGF, and FGF-2 all showed a positive correlation with increased CD4+ T cell counts.
Untreated, progressive HIV infection was associated with decreased serum levels of cytokines important in T cell homeostasis (IL-15) and T cell phenotype determination (IL-12), and increased levels of innate inflammatory mediators such as IP-10 and TNF-α. HAART was associated with cytokine profiles that more closely resembled those of HIV uninfected women. The distinctive pattern of cytokine levels in the 3 study groups may provide insights into HIV pathogenesis, and responses to therapy.
HIV; CD4+ T cells; cytokines; chemokines; HAART
HIV preferentially establishes productive infection in activated CD4+ T cells. Since proportions of activated CD4+ T cells vary between individuals, this study aimed to determine if individuals with a greater proportion of activated CD4+ T cells would be more susceptible to in vitro HIV infection.
Unstimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from various donors were inoculated with HIVML1956
in vitro. HIV replication was evaluated by HIV p24 ELISA of culture supernatants and intracellular staining for HIV p24, which was detected by flow cytometry. Baseline T cell phenotypes and infected cell phenotypes were also evaluated by flow cytometry. Ex vivo phenotyping at the time of blood draw showed that elevated T cell activation and reduced Tregs were associated with increased cellular susceptibility to in vitro infection. Furthermore, the infected CD4+ T cell population was enriched for activated cells.
These data suggest that CD4+ T cell quiescence provides an environment less conducive to the establishment of HIV infection by limiting the pool of activated target cells.
The environmental conditions that could lead to an increased risk for the development of an infection during prolonged space flight include: microgravity, stress, radiation, disturbance of circadian rhythms, and altered nutritional intake. A large body of literature exists on the impairment of the immune system by space flight. With the advent of missions outside the Earth's magnetic field, the increased risk of adverse effects due to exposure to radiation from a solar particle event (SPE) needs to be considered. Using models of reduced gravity and SPE radiation, we identify that either 2 Gy of radiation or hindlimb suspension alone leads to activation of the innate immune system and the two together are synergistic. The mechanism for the transient systemic immune activation is a reduced ability of the GI tract to contain bacterial products. The identification of mechanisms responsible for immune dysfunction during extended space missions will allow the development of specific countermeasures.
High concentrations of pro-inflammatory cytokines have been previously observed in the genital fluids of women enrolled in microbicide trials and may explain observed increased HIV transmission in some of these trials. Although the longitudinal nature of these studies allows within-subject comparisons of post-product levels to baseline levels, the fact that the physiologic variations of these cytokines and other markers of immune activation are not fully defined in different populations, makes it difficult to assess changes that can be directly attributed to microbicide use as opposed to other biological and behavioural factors.
Cervicovaginal lavage samples were collected from 30 healthy Caucasian and assayed for concentrations of ten cytokines/chemokines, total protein content and two antimicrobial proteins using a multiplex immunoassay and ELISA. Cellular markers were characterized by flow cytometry on mononuclear cells collected from the endocervix using flocked swabs. Bacterial quantification was performed using quantitative PCR.
Ectopy, menstrual cycle phase, prostate-specific antigen and presence of leucocytes in endocervical cells' supernatant were associated with the concentrations of cyto-/chemokines in cervicovaginal secretions. Approximately 3% of endocervical cells collected were monocytes of which a median of 52% (SD = 17) expressed both CD4 and CCR5 markers. Approximately 1% of the total cells were T-cells with a median of 61% (SD = 10) CD4 and CCR5 expression. Around 5% of the monocytes and 16% of the T-cells expressed the immune activation marker HLA-DR. Higher percentages of T-cells were associated with greater quantities of IL-1RA, GM-CSF and elafin.
We demonstrate the presence of selected soluble and cellular immune activation markers and identify their predictors in the female genital tract of healthy women. Future clinical trials should consider ectopy, sexual activity, menstrual cycle phase and presence of bacterial species as possible confounders when evaluating the possible inflammatory effects of microbicide compounds.
HIV disease is associated with increased arterial stiffness, which may be related to inflammation provoked by HIV-related immune perturbation. We assessed the association of T cell markers of immune activation and immunosenescence with carotid artery stiffness among HIV-infected women.
Among 114 HIV-infected and 43 HIV-uninfected women, we measured CD4+ and CD8+ T cell populations expressing activation (CD38+HLA-DR+) and senescence (CD28-CD57+) markers. We then related these measures of immune status with parameters of carotid artery stiffness, including decreased distensibility, and increased Young’s elastic modulus, as assessed by B-mode ultrasound.
HIV infection was associated with increased CD4+ T cell activation, CD8+ T cell activation and CD8+ T cell senescence. Among HIV-infected women, adjusted for age, HIV medications, and vascular risk factors, higher CD4+CD38+HLA-DR+ T cell frequency was associated with decreased carotid artery distensibility (β= −2.00, 95% confidence interval [CI]= −3.86,−0.14, P=0.04) and increased Young’s modulus (β=1.00, 95% CI=0.03,1.97, P=0.04). These associations were affected little by further adjustment for CD4+ T cell count and viral load. Among HIV-infected women, higher frequencies of immunosenescent T cells, including CD4+CD28-CD57+ and CD8+CD28-CD57+ T cells, were also associated with decreased arterial distensibility. Among HIV-uninfected women, frequencies of activated or senescent T cells were not significantly associated with measures of carotid stiffness.
T cell activation and senescence are associated with arterial stiffness, suggesting that pro-inflammatory populations of T cells may produce functional or structural vascular changes in HIV-infected women.
The factors associated with the development of immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome in HIV patients commencing antiretroviral therapy have not been fully elucidated. Using a longitudinal study design, this study addressed whether alteration in the levels of T regulatory cells contributed to the development of IRIS in a West African cohort of HIV-1 and HIV-2 patients. Seventy-one HIV infected patients were prospectively recruited to the study and followed up for six months. The patients were categorized as IRIS or non-IRIS cases following published clinical guidelines. The levels of T regulatory cells were measured using flow cytometry at baseline and all follow-up visits. Baseline cytokine levels of IL-2, IL-6, IFN-γ, TNF-α, MIP-1β, IL-1, IL-12, IL-13, and IL-10 were measured in all patients.
Twenty eight percent of patients (20/71) developed IRIS and were predominantly infected with HIV-1. Patients developing IRIS had lower nadir CD4 T cells at baseline (p = 0.03) and greater CD4 T cell reconstitution (p = 0.01) at six months post-ART. However, the development of IRIS was not influenced by the levels of T regulatory cells. Similarly, baseline cytokine levels did not predict the onset of IRIS.
The development of IRIS was not associated with differences in levels of T regulatory cells or baseline pro-inflammatory cytokines.
Efficacy of dietary intervention for treatment and prevention of HIV-related lipid disturbances has not been well established.
We conducted a systematic search of electronic databases supplemented with manual searches and conference abstracts, without language restriction. All randomised controlled trials (RCTs) with blood lipid outcomes, involving dietary intervention or supplementation for the treatment or prevention of adult HIV dyslipidaemia, versus no or other intervention were included. Two authors using predefined data fields, including study quality indicators, extracted data independently.
Eighteen studies (n = 873) met our inclusion criteria. Seven RCTs for omega-3 supplementation (n = 372), and four RCTs for dietary intervention (n = 201) were meta-analysed using random-effects models. Mild statistical heterogeneity was observed. Dietary intervention reduced triglyceride levels by −0·46 mmol/l (95%CI: −0·85 to −0·07 mmol/l) compared to control. Omega-3 supplementation reduced triglyceride levels by −1.12 mmol/l, (95%CI: −1·57 to −0·67 mmol/l) and total cholesterol, −0·36 mmol/l (95%CI: −0·67 to −0·05 mmol/l) compared to placebo/control.
Both omega-3 supplementation and dietary intervention reduced triglyceride level, with the latter possibly to a smaller extent. While dietary interventions are beneficial, more stringent dietary approaches may be necessary to fully address lipid disturbances in HIV patients.
In HIV-infected individuals on antiretroviral treatment with viral suppression, structured treatment interruptions are designed to allow exposure to endogenous HIV antigens and to thereby boost HIV-specific immunity. AIDS Clinical Trials Group A5132 was an exploratory 2-arm randomized trial that evaluated two 4-week treatment interruptions in combination with 2 strategies for administering interleukin-2 (IL-2): 2.0 million international units of IL-2 subcutaneously daily during the final 2 weeks of treatment interruption and the first week of treatment reinitiation (arm A), or 4.5 million international units of IL-2 subcutaneously twice a day during the first 5 days of treatment reinitiation (arm B). Twenty-one subjects with HIV-1 RNA <50 copies/mL and CD4+ T cell counts ≥300 (median 615) cells/mm3 were randomized. The primary endpoint was the viral setpoint measured 11–12 weeks after a third treatment interruption (observed for 7 Arm A and 9 Arm B). The median HIV-1 RNA setpoints were 4.3 and 4.5 log10 copies/mL for Arm A and Arm B, respectively; there was no evidence of a difference between arms (P = 0.50, rank-sum test, worst rank for unobserved viral setpoint). The current study, the first to evaluate IL-2 during repeated short-term treatment interruptions, revealed no evidence for augmentation of HIV immunity. Viral setpoints were similar to historical controls, emphasizing the need for new strategies to enhance HIV-specific immunity.
UK guidance recommend all acute medical admissions be offered an HIV test. Our aim was to determine whether a dedicated staff member using a multimedia tool, a model found to be effective in the USA, is an acceptable, feasible, and cost-effective model when translated to a UK setting.
Between 14th Jan to 12th May 2010, a Health advisor (HA) approached 19–65 year olds at a central London acute medical admissions unit (AAU) and offered a rapid HIV point of care test (POCT) with the aid of an educational video. Patients with negative results had the option to watch a post-test video providing risk-reduction information. For reactive results the HA arranged a confirmatory test, and ensured linkage into HIV specialist care. Feasibility and acceptability were assessed through surveys and uptake rates. Costs per case of HIV identified were established.
Of the 606 eligible people admitted during the pilot period, 324 (53.5%) could not be approached or testing was deemed inappropriate. In total 23.0% of eligible admissions had an HIV POCT. Of the patients who watched the video and had not recently tested for HIV, 93.6% (131/140) agreed to an HIV test; four further patients had an HIV test but did not watch the video. Three tests (2.2%, 3/135) were reactive and all were confirmed HIV positive on laboratory testing. 97.5% felt HIV testing in this setting was appropriate, and 90.1% liked receiving the information via video. The cost per patient of the intervention was £21.
Universal POCT HIV testing in an acute medical setting, facilitated by an educational video and dedicated staff appears to be acceptable, feasible, effective, and low cost. These findings support the recommendation of HIV testing all admissions to AAU in high prevalence settings, although with the model used a significant proportion remained untested.
Accurate and reliable laboratory methods are needed for estimation of HIV-1 incidence to identify the high-risk populations and target and monitor prevention efforts. We previously described a single-well limiting-antigen avidity enzyme immunoassay (LAg-Avidity EIA) to detect recent HIV-1 infection.
We describe here further optimization and characterization of LAg-Avidity EIA, comparing it to the BED assay and a two-well avidity-index (AI) EIA. Specimen sets included longitudinal sera (n = 393), collected from 89 seroconverting individuals from 4 cohorts representing 4 HIV-1 subtypes, and sera from AIDS patients (n = 488) with or without TB co-infections from 3 different cohorts. Ninety seven HIV-1 positive specimens were purchased commercially. The BED assay, LAg-Avidity EIA, AI-EIA and HIV serology were performed, as needed.
Monitoring quality control specimens indicated high reproducibility of the LAg-Avidity EIA with coefficient of variation of <10% in the dynamic range. The LAg-Avidity EIA has an overall mean duration of recency (ω) of 141 days (95% CI 119–160) at normalized optical density (ODn) cutoff of 1.0, with similar ω in different HIV-1 subtypes and populations (132 to 143 days). Antibody avidity kinetics were similar among individuals and subtypes by both the LAg-Avidity EIA and AI-EIA compared to the HIV-IgG levels measured by the BED assay. The false recent rate among individuals with AIDS was 0.2% with the LAg-Avidity EIA, compared to 2.9% with the BED assay. Western blot profiles of specimens with increasing avidity confirm accurate detection of recent HIV-1 infections.
These data demonstrate that the LAg-Avidity EIA is a promising assay with consistent ω in different populations and subtypes. The assay should be very useful for 1) estimating HIV-1 incidence in cross-sectional specimens as part of HIV surveillance, 2) identifying risk factors for recent infections, 3) measuring impact of prevention programs, and 4) studying avidity maturation during vaccine trials.