Type-I interferon (IFN-I) has been increasingly implicated in HIV-1 pathogenesis. Various studies have shown elevated IFN-I and an IFN-I-induced gene and protein expression signature in HIV-1 infection, yet the elevated IFN-I species has not been conclusively identified, its source remains obscure and its role in driving HIV-1 pathogenesis is controversial. We assessed IFN-I species in plasma by ELISAs and bioassay, and we investigated potential sources of IFN-I in blood and lymph node tissue by qRT-PCR. Furthermore, we measured the effect of therapeutic administration of IFNα in HCV-infected subjects to model the effect of IFNα on chronic immune activation. IFN-I bioactivity was significantly increased in plasma of untreated HIV-1-infected subjects relative to uninfected subjects (p = 0.012), and IFNα was the predominant IFN-I subtype correlating with IFN-I bioactivity (r = 0.658, p<0.001). IFNα was not detectable in plasma of subjects receiving anti-retroviral therapy. Elevated expression of IFNα mRNA was limited to lymph node tissue cells, suggesting that peripheral blood leukocytes are not a major source of IFNα in untreated chronic HIV-1 infection. Plasma IFN-I levels correlated inversely with CD4 T cell count (p = 0.003) and positively with levels of plasma HIV-1 RNA and CD38 expression on CD8 T cells (p = 0.009). In hepatitis C virus-infected subjects, treatment with IFN-I and ribavirin increased expression of CD38 on CD8 T cells (p = 0.003). These studies identify IFNα derived from lymph nodes, rather than blood leukocytes, as a possible source of the IFN-I signature that contributes to immune activation in HIV-1 infection.
To examine long-term effects of antiretroviral therapy (ART) on kidney function, we evaluated the incidence and risk factors for chronic kidney disease (CKD) among ART-naive, HIV-infected adults and compared changes in estimated glomerular filtration rates (eGFR) before and after starting ART.
Multicenter observational cohort study of patients with at least one serum creatinine measurement before and after initiating ART. Cox proportional hazard models, and marginal structure models examined CKD risk factors; mixed-effects linear models examined eGFR slopes.
Three thousand, three hundred and twenty-nine patients met entry criteria, contributing 10 099 person-years of observation on ART. ART was associated with a significantly slower rate of eGFR decline (from −2.18 to −1.37 ml/min per 1.73 m2 per year; P = 0.02). The incidence of CKD defined by eGFR thresholds of 60, 45 and 30 ml/min per 1.73 m2 was 10.5, 3.4 and 1.6 per 1000 person-years, respectively. In adjusted analyses black race, hepatitis C coinfection, lower time-varying CD4 cell count and higher time-varying viral load on ART were associated with higher CKD risk, and the magnitude of these risks increased with more severe CKD. Tenofovir and a ritonavir-boosted protease inhibitor (rPI) was also associated with higher CKD risk [hazard odds ratio for an eGFR threshold <60 ml/min per 1.73 m2: 3.35 (95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.40–8.02)], which developed in 5.7% of patients after 4 years of exposure to this regimen-type.
ART was associated with reduced CKD risk in association with CD4 cell restoration and plasma viral load suppression, despite an increased CKD risk that was associated with initial regimens that included tenofovir and rPI.
antiretroviral therapy; chronic kidney disease; tenofovir
The determinants of HIV-associated cardiovascular disease (CVD) are not well understood. Periodontal disease (PD) has been linked to CVD but this connection has not been examined in HIV infection. We followed a cohort of HIV-infected adults to ascertain whether PD was associated with carotid artery intima media thickness (IMT) and brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (FMD). We performed a longitudinal observational study of HIV-infected adults on HAART for <2 years with no known heart disease. PD was characterized clinically and microbiologically. Cardiovascular disease was assessed by IMT/FMD. Linear mixed models assessed cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between PD and FMD/IMT. Forty three HIV+ adults completed a median of 24 (6–44) months on the study. Defining delta to be the change in a variable between baseline and a follow-up time, longitudinally, on average and after adjusting for change in time, CVD-specific and HIV-specific potential confounding covariates, a 1-log10 increase in delta Porphyromonas gingivalis was associated with a 0.013 mm increase in delta IMT (95% CI: 0.0006–0.0262; p=0.04). After adjusting for the same potential confounding covariates, a 10% increase in delta gingival recession was associated with a 2.3% increase in delta FMD (95% CI: 0.4–4.2; p=0.03). In a cohort of HIV-infected adults, an increase in subgingival Porphyromonas gingivalis, a known periodontal pathogen, was significantly associated with longitudinal increases in IMT, while increased gingival recession, which herein may represent PD resolution, was significantly associated with longitudinal improvement in FMD. In the context of HIV infection, PD may contribute to CVD risk. Intervention studies treating PD may help clarify this association.
Background. Failure to normalize CD4+ T-cell numbers despite effective antiretroviral therapy is an important problem in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.
Methods. To evaluate potential determinants of immune failure in this setting, we performed a comprehensive immunophenotypic characterization of patients with immune failure despite HIV suppression, persons who experienced CD4+ T-cell restoration with therapy, and healthy controls.
Results. Profound depletion of all CD4+ T-cell maturation subsets and depletion of naive CD8+ T cells was found in immune failure, implying failure of T-cell production/expansion. In immune failure, both CD4+ and CD8+ cells were activated but only memory CD4+ cells were cycling at increased frequency. This may be the consequence of inflammation induced by in vivo exposure to microbial products, as soluble levels of the endotoxin receptor CD14+ and interleukin 6 were elevated in immune failure. In multivariate analyses, naive T-cell depletion, phenotypic activation (CD38+ and HLA-DR expression), cycling of memory CD4+ T cells, and levels of soluble CD14 (sCD14) distinguished immune failure from immune success, even when adjusted for CD4+ T-cell nadir, age at treatment initiation, and other clinical indices.
Conclusions. Immune activation that appears related to exposure to microbial elements distinguishes immune failure from immune success in treated HIV infection.
Background. Screening for tuberculosis prior to highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) initiation is not routinely performed in low-incidence settings. Identifying factors associated with developing tuberculosis after HAART initiation could focus screening efforts.
Methods. Sixteen cohorts in the United States and Canada contributed data on persons infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) who initiated HAART December 1995–August 2009. Parametric survival models identified factors associated with tuberculosis occurrence.
Results. Of 37845 persons in the study, 145 were diagnosed with tuberculosis after HAART initiation. Tuberculosis risk was highest in the first 3 months of HAART (20 cases; 215 cases per 100000 person-years; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 131–333 per 100000 person-years). In a multivariate Weibull proportional hazards model, baseline CD4+ lymphocyte count <200, black race, other nonwhite race, Hispanic ethnicity, and history of injection drug use were independently associated with tuberculosis risk. In addition, in a piece-wise Weibull model, increased baseline HIV-1 RNA was associated with increased tuberculosis risk in the first 3 months; male sex tended to be associated with increased risk.
Conclusions. Screening for active tuberculosis prior to HAART initiation should be targeted to persons with baseline CD4 <200 lymphocytes/mm3 or increased HIV-1 RNA, persons of nonwhite race or Hispanic ethnicity, history of injection drug use, and possibly male sex.
Determination of the prevalence of accumulated antiretroviral drug resistance among persons infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is complicated by the lack of routine measurement in clinical care. By using data from 8 clinic-based cohorts from the North American AIDS Cohort Collaboration on Research and Design, drug-resistance mutations from those with genotype tests were determined and scored using the Genotypic Resistance Interpretation Algorithm developed at Stanford University. For each year from 2000 through 2005, the prevalence was calculated using data from the tested subset, assumptions that incorporated clinical knowledge, and multiple imputation methods to yield a complete data set. A total of 9,289 patients contributed data to the analysis; 3,959 had at least 1 viral load above 1,000 copies/mL, of whom 2,962 (75%) had undergone at least 1 genotype test. Using these methods, the authors estimated that the prevalence of accumulated resistance to 2 or more antiretroviral drug classes had increased from 14% in 2000 to 17% in 2005 (P < 0.001). In contrast, the prevalence of resistance in the tested subset declined from 57% to 36% for 2 or more classes. The authors’ use of clinical knowledge and multiple imputation methods revealed trends in HIV drug resistance among patients in care that were markedly different from those observed using only data from patients who had undergone genotype tests.
antiretroviral therapy, highly active; drug resistance; genotype; HIV
Beta defensins are antimicrobial peptides that serve to protect the host from microbial invasion at skin and mucosal surfaces. Here we explore the relationships among beta defensin levels, total bacterial colonization, and colonization by bacterial vaginosis (BV)-related bacteria and lactobacilli in the female genital tract in HIV infected women and healthy controls. Cervicovaginal lavage (CVL) samples were obtained from 30 HIV-infected women and 36 uninfected controls. Quantitative PCR assays were used to measure DNA levels of bacterial 16S ribosomal DNA (reflective of total bacterial load), and levels of three BV-related bacteria, three Lactobacillus species (L. crispatus, L. iners and L. jensenii), and total Lactobacillus levels in CVL. Levels of human beta defensins (hBD-2 and hBD-3) were quantified by ELISA. In viremic HIV+ donors, we found that CVL levels of bacterial 16S rDNA were significantly increased, and inversely correlated with peripheral CD4+ T cell counts in HIV+ women, and inversely correlated with age in both HIV+ women and controls. Although CVL DNA levels of BV-associated bacteria tended to be increased, and CVL levels of lactobacillus DNAs tended to be decreased in HIV+ donors, none of these differences was significant. CVL levels of hBD-2 and hBD-3 were correlated and were not different in HIV+ women and controls. However, significant positive correlations between hBD-3 levels and total bacterial DNA levels in controls were not demonstrable in HIV+ women; the significant positive correlations of hBD2 or hBD-3 and three Lactobacillus species in controls were also not demonstrable in HIV+ women. These results suggest that HIV infection is associated with impaired regulation of innate defenses at mucosal sites.
HIV; Bacterial 16S rDNA; beta defensins; Cervicovaginal lavage
Background. In patients receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), antiretroviral drug–metabolizing enzyme and transporter gene polymorphisms, as well as chemokine receptor gene polymorphisms, may influence response to treatment.
Methods. In a North American, treated, adherent human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–positive cohort (self-identified whites, n = 175; blacks, n = 218), we investigated whether CYP2B6 (516G>T, 983T>C), UGT2B7 (IVS1+985A>G, 802C>T), MDR1 3435C>T, chemokine (C-C motif) receptor 2 (CCR2) 190G>A, and CCR5 (−2459G>A, Δ32) polymorphisms influenced the time to achieve virologic success (TVLS).
Results. No difference in TVLS was observed between races. In Kaplan-Meier analyses, only 516G>T (log-rank P = .045 for comparison of GG, GT, and TT and P = .02 GG + GT vs TT) and −2459G>A (log-rank P = .04 for GG, GA, and AA and P = .02 for GG + GA vs AA) genotypes were significantly associated with TVLS in black patients but not in white patients. However, in the Cox proportional hazards model that included age, sex, baseline CD4+ T cell count, and baseline viral load, no significant association was observed between 516G>T and TVLS, whereas the association between −2459G>A and TVLS remained significant even after including CCR2 190G>A as well as all the drug-metabolizing enzyme and transporter genotypes.
Conclusions. These findings suggest that CCR5 −2459G>A genotype had a strong, race-specific influence on TVLS in this cohort. Understanding the possible mechanisms underlying this influence requires further studies.
We report a case of disseminated cutaneous Mycobacterium chelonae infection in a patient with head and neck cancer on salvage chemotherapy, including the epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitor cetuximab. Mycobacterium chelonae should be considered in the differential diagnosis of cutaneous infections in cancer patients receiving epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitors.
Background. Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is characterized by reduced numbers of functional HCV-specific T cells. In addition, chronically HCV-infected individuals have reduced response to vaccine. Alterations in naive CD4 T cell phenotype or function may contribute to these immune impairments.
Methods. Using flow cytometric analysis and enzyme-linked immunospot assay, we examined peripheral naive CD4 T cell phenotype and function in chronically HCV-infected patients and control subjects.
Results. We observed significantly lower absolute cell numbers of naive CD4 T cells in HCV-infected patients, localized to the CD127+CD25low/- and CD31+ (RTE) subsets. Moreover, we found greater percentages of naive cells expressing CD25 and KI67 in HCV-infected patients, consistent with immune activation, further supported by higher plasma sCD27 levels. Functional analysis revealed an intact interferon-γ response to allogeneic B cell stimulus. However, after direct TCR stimulation, naive CD4 T cells from HCV-infected patients had altered up-regulation of KI67 and CD25 and less CD27 expression. The latter was associated with elevated baseline activation state. In addition, naive CD4 T cells from HCV-infected patients were more susceptible to cell death.
Conclusions. These numerical and functional defects may contribute to inadequate formation of virus and neoantigen-specific T cell responses during chronic HCV infection.
Twenty-six antiretroviral drugs (ARVs), targeting five different steps in the life cycle of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), have been approved for the treatment of HIV-1 infection. Accordingly, HIV-1 phenotypic assays based on common cloning technology currently employ three, or possibly four, different recombinant viruses. Here, we describe a system to assess HIV-1 resistance to all drugs targeting the three viral enzymes as well as viral assembly using a single patient-derived, chimeric virus. Patient-derived p2-INT (gag-p2/NCp7/p1/p6/pol-PR/RT/IN) products were PCR amplified as a single fragment (3,428 bp) or two overlapping fragments (1,657 bp and 2,002 bp) and then recombined into a vector containing a near-full-length HIV-1 genome with the Saccharomyces cerevisiae uracil biosynthesis gene (URA3) replacing the 3,428 bp p2-INT segment (Dudley et al., Biotechniques 46:458–467, 2009). P2-INT-recombinant viruses were employed in drug susceptibility assays to test the activity of protease (PI), nucleoside/nucleotide reverse transcriptase (NRTI), nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase (NNRTI), and integrase strand-transfer (INSTI) inhibitors. Using a single standardized test (ViralARTS HIV), this new technology permits the rapid and automated quantification of phenotypic resistance for all known and candidate antiretroviral drugs targeting all viral enzymes (PR, RT, including polymerase and RNase H activities, and IN), some of the current and potential assembly inhibitors, and any drug targeting Pol or Gag precursor cleavage sites (relevant for PI and maturation inhibitors) This novel assay may be instrumental (i) in the development and clinical assessment of novel ARV drugs and (ii) to monitor patients failing prior complex treatment regimens.
Type I interferons play important roles in innate immune defense. In HIV infection, type I interferons may delay disease progression by inhibiting viral replication while at the same time accelerating disease progression by contributing to chronic immune activation.
To investigate the effects of type I interferons in HIV-infection, we obtained cryopreserved peripheral blood mononuclear cell samples from 10 subjects who participated in AIDS Clinical Trials Group Study 5192, a trial investigating the activity of systemic administration of IFNα for twelve weeks to patients with untreated HIV infection. Using flow cytometry, we examined changes in cell cycle status and expression of activation antigens by circulating T cells and their maturation subsets before, during and after IFNα treatment.
The proportion of CD38+HLA-DR+CD8+ T cells increased from a mean of 11.7% at baseline to 24.1% after twelve weeks of interferon treatment (p = 0.006). These frequencies dropped to an average of 20.1% six weeks after the end of treatment. In contrast to CD8+ T cells, the frequencies of activated CD4+ T cells did not change with administration of type I interferon (mean percentage of CD38+DR+ cells = 2.62% at baseline and 2.17% after 12 weeks of interferon therapy). As plasma HIV levels fell with interferon therapy, this was correlated with a “paradoxical” increase in CD8+ T cell activation (p<0.001).
Administration of type I interferon increased expression of the activation markers CD38 and HLA DR on CD8+ T cells but not on CD4+ T cells of HIV+ persons. These observations suggest that type I interferons may contribute to the high levels of CD8+ T cell activation that occur during HIV infection.
Both clinical experience and a growing medical literature indicate that there are persons who have been exposed to HIV infection who have remained uninfected. While in some instances this may represent good fortune, cohorts of uninfected persons have been reported where risks for infection are thought to be high. In these cohorts a variety of characteristics have been proposed as mediating protection but to date only the 32 base pair deletion in the CCR5 gene that results in complete failure of cell surface expression of this co-receptor has been associated with high level protection from HIV infection. With this in mind, there are likely numerous other factors that may individually or in combination provide some level of protection from acquisition of HIV infection. As some of these factors are likely incompletely protective or inconsistently active, identifying them with confidence will be difficult. Nonetheless, clarifying the determinants of protection against HIV infection is a high priority that will require careful selection of high risk uninfected cohorts to which targeted studies of plausible mediators and broad screening for unexpected determinants of protection should be applied.
HIV infection; Exposed Seronegatives; High Risk Seronegatives; Interferon; Restriction factors; CCR5
Immune reconstitution after HAART is incomplete, but no widely accepted method to quantify subclinical immune deficiency is available. We immunized 9 HIV-negative subjects and 29 HIV-infected patients with CD4 ≥450 cells/μL and undetectable HIV RNA levels with 2 doses of diphtheria/tetanus toxoid (TT) and KLH, a presumed neoantigen. We quantified the response by lymphoproliferative assay, delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH), and antibody titers up to 59 days after enrollment. We assessed T cell proliferative capacity using anti-Vβ3 and anti-Vβ5 antibody stimulation, which we herein show induces predominant proliferation of naïve T cells. Subjects with detectable responses to KLH tended to exhibit greater proliferative responses to anti-Vβ3/Vβ5 stimulation; no such pattern was seen with response to TT. Several measures of in vitro T cell proliferative capacity correlated significantly with DTH and antibody responses to KLH, but not with TT responses; this association was independent of naïve T cell numbers. Our results indicate that naïve T cell proliferation predicts response to neo-, but not recall antigens, and suggest that it may be a meaningful reflection of in vivo immune competence in HIV-infected persons.
Naïve T cells; HIV; HAART; immune reconstitution; T cell proliferation; neoantigens; vaccine responses
HIV infection is characterized by ineffective anti-viral T-cell responses and impaired dendritic cell (DC) functions, including response to Toll-Like Receptor (TLR) ligands. Because TLR responsiveness may affect a host's response to virus, we examined TLR ligand induced Myeloid and Plasmacytoid DC (MDC and PDC) activation of naïve T-cells in HIV+ subjects.
Freshly purified MDC and PDC obtained from HIV+ subjects and healthy controls were cultured in the presence and absence of TLR ligands (poly I∶C or R-848). We evaluated indices of maturation/activation (CD83, CD86, and HLA-DR expression), cytokine secretion (IFN-alpha and IL-6), and ability to activate allogeneic naïve CD4 T-cells to secrete IFN-gamma and IL-2.
MDC from HIV+ subjects had increased spontaneous IL-6 production and increased CD83 and CD86 expression when compared to MDC of controls. MDC IL-6 expression was associated with plasma HIV level. At the same time, poly I∶C induced HLA-DR up-regulation on MDC was reduced in HIV+ persons when compared to controls. The latter finding was associated with impaired ability of MDC from HIV+ subjects to activate allogeneic naïve CD4 T-cells. PDC from HIV+ persons had increased spontaneous and TLR ligand induced IL-6 expression, and increased HLA-DR expression at baseline. The latter was associated with an intact ability of HIV PDC to activate allogeneic naïve CD4 T-cells.
These results have implications for the ability of the HIV+ host to form innate and adaptive responses to HIV and other pathogens.
To identify inflammatory pathways that may contribute to HIV disease pathogenesis, we explored associations between AIDS or death with different inflammatory markers, including selected soluble tumor necrosis factor superfamily receptors and ligands, interleukin (IL)-6, and CD8 T cell activation, in highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART)-treated individuals.
Case-control study among subjects in AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG) protocols 384 and 5015, matched by baseline CD4 cell counts and plasma viral load (pVL), using conditional logistic regression.
Higher pre-treatment soluble (s) TNFR-I, sCD27, sCD40L and plasma IL-6 concentrations were associated with a new AIDS-defining illness or death in separate models adjusted for age, sex, hemoglobin and latest CD4 cell counts. In additional models that excluded cases of opportunistic infections, sTNFR-I, sCD27, and sCD40L each was associated with a new AIDS-defining malignancy or death that developed a median of 51 weeks after HAART-initiation, by which time the majority of subjects had CD4 cell counts above 200/cm3 and achieved a pVL<50 copies/mL.
These data are compatible with a model where these soluble inflammatory markers identify pathways that may contribute to the pathogenesis HIV disease progression, pathways that might not be a direct consequence of ongoing HIV-1 replication.
Immune activation; TNFR-I; CD27; CD40L; IL-6
Initiatives to improve early detection and access to HIV services have increased over time. We assessed the immune status of patients at initial presentation for HIV care from 1997-2007 in 13 US and Canadian clinical cohorts.
We analyzed data from 44,491 HIV-infected patients enrolled in the North American – AIDS Cohort Collaboration on Research and Design. We identified first presentation for HIV care as the time of first CD4+ T-lymphocyte (CD4) measurement and excluded patients who prior to this date had HIV RNA measurements, evidence of antiretroviral exposure, or a history of AIDS-defining illness. Trends in mean CD4 count (measured as cells/mm3) and 95% confidence intervals ([,]) were determined using linear regression adjusted for age, gender, race/ethnicity, HIV transmission risk and cohort.
Median age at first presentation for HIV care increased over time (range 40-43 years, p<0.01), while the proportion of patients with injection drug use HIV transmission risk decreased (26% to 14%, p<0.01) and heterosexual transmission risk increased (16% to 23%, p<0.01). Median CD4 at presentation increased from 256 (IQR: 96-455) to 317 (IQR: 135-517) in 1997 to 2007 (p<0.01). The proportion with a CD4 count ≥350 at first presentation also increased from 1997 to 2007 (38% to 46%, p=<0.01). The estimated adjusted mean CD4 count increased at a rate of 6 [5, 7] per year.
CD4 count at first presentation for HIV care has increased annually over the past 11 years, but has remained <350 cells/mm3, suggesting the urgent need for earlier HIV diagnosis and treatment.
CD4 Lymphocyte Count; Delivery of Health Care / statistics & numerical data; HIV Infections / therapy; United States; Canada
We assessed CD4 count at initial presentation for HIV care among ≥50-year-olds from 1997-2007 in 13 US and Canadian clinical cohorts and compared to <50-year-olds. 44,491 HIV-infected individuals in the North American AIDS Cohort Collaboration on Research and Design (NA-ACCORD) were included in our study. Trends in mean CD4 count (measured as cells/mm3) and 95% confidence intervals ([,]) were determined using linear regression stratified by age category and adjusted for gender, race/ethnicity, HIV transmission risk and cohort. From 1997-2007, the proportion of individuals presenting for HIV care who were ≥50-years-old increased from 17% to 27% (p-value < 0.01). The median CD4 count among ≥50 year-olds was consistently lower than younger adults. The interaction of age group and calendar year was significant (p-value <0.01) with both age groups experiencing modest annual improvements over time (< 50-year-olds: 5
[4 , 6] cells/mm3; ≥50-year-olds: 7
[5 , 9] cells/mm3), after adjusting for sex, race/ethnicity, HIV transmission risk group and cohort; however, increases in the two groups were similar after 2000. A greater proportion of older individuals had an AIDS-defining diagnosis at, or within three months prior to, first presentation for HIV care compared to younger individuals (13% vs. 10%, respectively). Due to the increasing proportion, consistently lower CD4 counts, and more advanced HIV disease in adults ≥50-year-old at first presentation for HIV care, renewed HIV testing efforts are needed.
Determine if antiretroviral (ARV) regimens with good central nervous system (CNS) penetration control HIV in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and improve cognition.
Multi-site longitudinal observational study.
101 individuals with advanced HIV beginning or changing a new potent ARV regimen. Data for 79 subjects were analyzed. Participants underwent structured history and neurological examination, venipuncture, lumbar puncture, neuropsychological tests at entry, 24 and 52 weeks.
ARV regimens were categorized as CNS penetration effectiveness (CPE) rank ≥ 2 or < 2. Generalized estimating equations were used to examine associations over the course of the study.
Main Outcome Measures
Concentration of HIV RNA in CSF and blood, neuropsychological test scores.
Odds of suppression of CSF HIV RNA were higher when CPE rank ≥ 2 compared to < 2. Odds of suppression of plasma HIV RNA were not associated with CPE rank. Among subjects with impaired neuropsychological performance at entry, those prescribed regimens with a CPE rank ≥ 2 or more ARVs had lower NPZ4 over the course of the study.
ARV regimens with good CNS penetration, as assessed by CPE rank, are more effective in controlling CSF (and presumably CNS) viral replication than regimens with poorer penetration. In this study, ARVs with good CNS penetration were associated with poorer neurocognitive performance. A larger, controlled trial is required before any conclusions regarding the influence of specific ARVs on neurocognitive performance should be made.
Cerebrospinal fluid; HIV; cognition; neuropsychological tests; antiretroviral therapy
Many immune correlates of CD8+ T-cell-mediated control of HIV replication, including polyfunctionality, proliferative ability, and inhibitory receptor expression, have been discovered. However, no functional correlates using ex vivo cells have been identified with the known ability to cause the direct elimination of HIV-infected cells. We have recently discovered the ability of human CD8+ T-cells to rapidly upregulate perforin—an essential molecule for cell-mediated cytotoxicity—following antigen-specific stimulation. Here, we examined perforin expression capability in a large cross-sectional cohort of chronically HIV-infected individuals with varying levels of viral load: elite controllers (n = 35), viremic controllers (n = 29), chronic progressors (n = 27), and viremic nonprogressors (n = 6). Using polychromatic flow cytometry and standard intracellular cytokine staining assays, we measured perforin upregulation, cytokine production, and degranulation following stimulation with overlapping peptide pools encompassing all proteins of HIV. We observed that HIV-specific CD8+ T-cells from elite controllers consistently display an enhanced ability to express perforin directly ex vivo compared to all other groups. This ability is not restricted to protective HLA-B haplotypes, does not require proliferation or the addition of exogenous factors, is not restored by HAART, and primarily originates from effector CD8+ T-cells with otherwise limited functional capability. Notably, we found an inverse relationship between HIV-specific perforin expression and viral load. Thus, the capability of HIV-specific CD8+ T-cells to rapidly express perforin defines a novel correlate of control in HIV infection.
While the majority HIV-infected individuals progress to AIDS, a fraction of these individuals—for reasons not completely understood—do not develop AIDS and also display sustained control over viral replication; these subjects are sometimes referred to as elite controllers (EC). Prior evidence has shown that HIV-specific CD8+ T-cells, a component of adaptive immunity against intracellular pathogens, from EC exhibit enhanced functionality compared to individuals with progressive disease. Therefore, HIV-specific CD8+ T-cells likely play an important role in the favorable clinical outcomes witnessed in EC. We show in this study that the ability to control HIV replication in EC is associated with the expression of a protein called perforin, a critical molecule that enables CD8+ T-cells to directly kill infected cells - thereby preventing the spread of HIV to previously uninfected cells. In infected subjects with nonprogressive disease, we show that HIV-specific CD8+ T-cells demonstrate a superior ability to express perforin upon antigen-specific stimulation, whereas in progressors this property is diminished. Thus, we identify a functional capability of CD8+ T-cells, readily measured by standard intracellular cytokine staining assays, that potentially has a direct impact on HIV replication in vivo. These findings may, therefore, provide an important qualifier for future HIV vaccine research.
Although combination antiretroviral therapy continues to evolve, with potentially more effective options emerging each year, the ability of therapy to prevent multiple regimen failure and mortality in clinical practice remains poorly defined.
Sixteen cohorts representing over 60 sites contributed data on all individuals who initiated combination antiretroviral therapy. We identified those individuals who experienced virologic failure (defined as a human immunodeficiency virus [HIV] RNA level >1000 copies/mL), received modified therapy, and subsequently had a second episode of virologic failure. Multivariate Cox regression was used to assess factors associated with time to second regimen failure and the time to death after the onset of second regimen failure.
Of the 42,790 individuals who received therapy, 7159 experienced a second virologic failure. The risk of second virologic failure decreased from 1996 (56 cases per 100 person-years) through 2005 (16 cases per 100 person-years; P < .001). The cumulative mortality after onset of second virologic failure was 26% at 5 years and decreased over time. A history of AIDS, a lower CD4+ T cell count, and a higher plasma HIV RNA level were each independently associated with mortality. Similar trends were observed when analysis was limited to the subset of previously treatment-naive patients
Although the rates of multiple regimen failure have decreased dramatically over the past decade, mortality rates for those who have experienced failure of at least 2 regimens have remained high. Plasma HIV RNA levels, CD4+ T cell counts at time of treatment failure, and a history of AIDS remain independent risk factors for death, which emphasizes that these factors remain important targets for those in need of more-aggressive therapeutic interventions.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections impair plasmacytoid dendritic cell (PDC) and natural killer (NK) cell subset numbers and functions, though little is known about PDC-NK cell interactions during these infections. We evaluated PDC-dependent NK cell killing and gamma interferon (IFN-γ) and granzyme B production, using peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC)-based and purified cell assays of samples from HCV- and HIV-infected subjects. CpG-enhanced PBMC killing and IFN-γ and granzyme B activity (dependent on PDC and NK cells) were impaired in viremic HIV infection. In purified PDC-NK cell culture experiments, CpG-enhanced, PDC-dependent NK cell activity was cell contact and IFN-α dependent, and this activity was impaired in viremic HIV infection but not in HCV infection. In heterologous PDC-NK cell assays, impaired PDC-NK cell killing activity was largely attributable to an NK cell defect, while impaired PDC-NK cell IFN-γ-producing activity was attributable to both PDC and NK cell defects. Additionally, the response of NK cells to direct IFN-α stimulation was defective in viremic HIV infection, and this defect was not attributable to diminished IFN-α receptor expression, though IFN-α receptor and NKP30 expression was closely associated with killer activity in viremic HIV infection but not in healthy controls. These data indicate that during uncontrolled HIV infection, PDC-dependent NK cell function is impaired, which is in large part attributable to defective IFN-α-induced NK cell activity and not to altered IFN-α receptor, NKP30, NKP44, NKP46, or NKG2D expression.
The optimal time for the initiation of antiretroviral therapy for asymptomatic patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is uncertain.
We conducted two parallel analyses involving a total of 17,517 asymptomatic patients with HIV infection in the United States and Canada who received medical care during the period from 1996 through 2005. None of the patients had undergone previous antiretroviral therapy. In each group, we stratified the patients according to the CD4+ count (351 to 500 cells per cubic millimeter or >500 cells per cubic millimeter) at the initiation of antiretroviral therapy. In each group, we compared the relative risk of death for patients who initiated therapy when the CD4+ count was above each of the two thresholds of interest (early-therapy group) with that of patients who deferred therapy until the CD4+ count fell below these thresholds (deferred-therapy group).
In the first analysis, which involved 8362 patients, 2084 (25%) initiated therapy at a CD4+ count of 351 to 500 cells per cubic millimeter, and 6278 (75%) deferred therapy. After adjustment for calendar year, cohort of patients, and demographic and clinical characteristics, among patients in the deferred-therapy group there was an increase in the risk of death of 69%, as compared with that in the early-therapy group (relative risk in the deferred-therapy group, 1.69; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.26 to 2.26; P<0.001). In the second analysis involving 9155 patients, 2220 (24%) initiated therapy at a CD4+ count of more than 500 cells per cubic millimeter and 6935 (76%) deferred therapy. Among patients in the deferred-therapy group, there was an increase in the risk of death of 94% (relative risk, 1.94; 95% CI, 1.37 to 2.79; P<0.001).
The early initiation of antiretroviral therapy before the CD4+ count fell below two prespecified thresholds significantly improved survival, as compared with deferred therapy.
HIV; AIDS; cohorts; epidemiology
Initiation of combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) results in higher total CD4 cell counts, a surrogate for immune reconstitution. Whether the baseline CD4 cell count affects reconstitution of immune cell subsets has not been well characterized.
Using data from 978 patients (621 with comprehensive immunological assessments) from the AIDS [Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome] Clinical Trials Group protocol 384, a randomized trial of initial ART, we compared reconstitution of CD4+, CD4+ naive and memory, CD4+ activation, CD8+, CD8+ activation, B, and natural killer cells among patients in different baseline CD4+ strata. Reference ranges for T cell populations in control patients negative for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection were calculated using data from AIDS Clinical Trials Group protocol A5113.
Patients in the lower baseline CD4+ strata did not achieve total CD4+ cell counts similar to those of patients in the higher strata during 144 weeks of ART, although CD4+ cell count increases were similar. Ratios of CD4+ naive-memory cell counts and CD4+:CD8+ cell counts remained significantly reduced in patients with lower baseline CD4+ cell counts (≤350 cells/mm3). These immune imbalances were most notable for those initiating ART with a baseline CD4+ cell count ≤200 cells/mm3, even after adjustment for baseline plasma HIV RNA levels.
After nearly 3 years of ART, T cell subsets in patients with baseline CD4+ cell counts >350 cells/mm3 achieved or approached the reference range those of control individuals without HIV infection. In contrast, patients who began ART with ≤350 CD4+ cells/mm3 generally did not regain normal CD4+ naive-memory cell ratios. These results support current guidelines to start ART at a threshold of 350 cells/mm3 and suggest that there may be immunological benefits associated with initiating therapy at even higher CD4+ cell counts.