Viral diversity is a hallmark of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection; however, only limited data are available regarding HCV variability in extrahepatic sites, and none have systematically compared diversity in non-structural and structural genomic regions. Therefore, HCV diversity in the NS5B and envelope 1 (E1) hypervariable region 1 (HVR1) genes was evaluated in matched sera and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) obtained from 13 HCV-infected women. Multiple clonal sequences were compared to evaluate quasispecies diversity and viral compartmentalization in PBMCs.
Genetic distances were higher for E1/HVR1 compared to NS5B in both the sera and PBMCs (p = 0.0511 and p = 0.0284). Genetic distances were higher in serum NS5B compared to PBMC NS5B (p = 0.0003); however, they were not different when comparing E1/HVR1 in sera to PBMCs. By phylogenetic analysis of NS5B, evidence of possible PBMC compartmentalization was observed for 1 woman, while statistical methods were consistent with PBMC compartmentalization for 6 women. Evidence of compartmentalization within a non-structural genomic region may suggest that viral adaptation to a unique extracellular microenvironment(s) may be required for efficient replication and could contribute to HCV persistence.
NS5B; HVR1; diversity; quasispecies; extrahepatic replication
HCV/HIV coinfection continues to represent a serious health issue with risk of liver disease progression and development of hepatocellular carcinoma. Pegylated interferon with ribavirin is approved for treatment but results are suboptimal and tolerability poor. First-generation HCV protease inhibitors appear to significantly improve HCV treatment response in the setting of HIV infection. Interactions with HIV protease inhibitors have been documented, but the significance of this in terms of adverse reactions and HCV or HIV viral breakthrough remains uncertain. Next generation agents hold the promise of even better efficacy, with improved dosing schedules and perhaps decreased risk of drug:drug interactions.
HCV; Protease inhibitors; HIV; AIDS
There is a paucity of information on the utilization patterns of liver transplantation (LT) for HIV-positive individuals. The aim of this study is to examine the trends in LT of HIV patients in the US. This study was a retrospective analysis using the UNOS database (1999–2008). There were 135 HIV-positive patients. There was a steady increase in the number of LT recipients over time as well as regional variation. Ethnic minorities accounted for 33.3% and there was no ethnic difference in survival. Though LT for HIV-positive patients is on the rise, significant variations exist in patient demographics, geographic location, and insurance payer.
HIV; Liver transplantation; Disparity; Survival
First reported in 1978, occult hepatitis B is a term used to describe the presence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA without hepatitis B surface antigenemia. The prevalence of occult HBV is unclear and depends in part on the sensitivity of the hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and DNA assays used as well as the prevalence of HBV infection in the study population. The origin of occult HBV also remains in question. Several mechanisms have been hypothesized including mutations in the regulatory regions of the HBV genome, persistence of Ig-bound HBV immune complexes, viral interference, and blockage of free HBsAg secretion. Occult HBV has important clinical implications such as transmission through blood transfusion, reactivation in the setting of immunosuppression, and interference with hepatitis C treatment. To date, there is little date pertaining to the treatment of occult HBV outside of the setting of chemotherapy-induced HBV reactivation.
occult HBV; chronic hepatitis B; HBV DNA; HBs antigenemia
There is growing evidence to suggest that HIV may interact with several hepatic cell types; however, evaluation of HIV variability in liver tissue has not been addressed to date. Among 16 HIV-positive individuals examined, nine (56%) had detectable HIV RNA in the liver. The mean CD4 cell count for these nine individuals was 337 cells/mm3 (range: 0–601), while their mean plasma HIV RNA level was 106,974 copies/ml (range: 1200–320,740). Among individuals in this study with detectable HIV in both the plasma and the liver, the consensus gag nucleotide sequences for each tissue type were different for seven of seven (100%) individuals, while amino acid sequences were distinct for five of seven (71%). Consensus envelope (env) nucleotide and amino acid sequences were also distinct in the plasma and liver tissue for six of six (100%) individuals. Statistical evidence of compartmentalization between HIV in the plasma and in the liver was demonstrated, and multiple liver-specific amino acids were identified that may distinguish HIV variants replicating within the liver. These preliminary data demonstrate that HIV is frequently detectable in the liver of HIV-positive persons at various levels of immunosuppression. Possible compartmentalization may reflect tissue-specific selection pressures that drive viral adaptation to the liver microenvironment and may facilitate interactions with other hepatotropic viruses.
HIV; HCV; HBV; coinfection; pathogenesis; liver injury
It is unknown whether extended treatment with pegylated interferon (PEG) and weight-based ribavirin (WBR) results in higher rates of sustained virologic response (SVR) among HCV-HIV coinfected patients compared with standard duration therapy.
The study aimed to measure rates of SVR among coinfected patients who received extended therapy with PEG plus WBR.
HCV-HIV coinfected subjects were treated with PEG and WBR, and those who achieved early virologic response (EVR; ≥2 log decrease in HCV RNA from baseline or HCV RNA<600 IU/mL) at week 12 were eligible to continue treatment for 72 weeks. SVR (HCV RNA<60 IU/mL) was measured 24 weeks after treatment discontinuation. Predictors of SVR were assessed in simple and multivariate logistic regression.
A total of 329 subjects enrolled at 36 sites. Of 184 subjects who achieved EVR, 169 entered Step 3: 89% male, 52% White, 29% Black, and 71% HCV treatment naïve. The overall SVR rate was 27% (95% CI, 22%–32%) among all subjects, and 33% (95% CI, 27%–40%) among the 223 who were HCV treatment naïve. In exploratory analyses, among 120 treatment-naïve subjects who entered Step 3, the SVR rate was 62% (95% CI, 52%–70%). In this subgroup, predictors of SVR were HCV genotype 2 or 3 (P = .03), HCV RNA <800,000 IU/mL at study entry (P = .05), and achievement of complete EVR (HCV RNA<600 IU/mL at week 12; P < .0001).
Among all subjects, we observed a comparable overall SVR rate to prior studies of subjects treated for 48 weeks. Extended treatment with PEG and WBR may be beneficial to subsets of coinfected patients, specifically those who are treatment naïve and achieve complete EVR.
extended therapy; HCV; HIV; weight-based ribavirin
Current CDC/USPHS screening threshold of 2% for prevalence of chronic HBV is “costeffective.” Screening US adults in lower prevalence populations (eg, as low as 0.3%) also is likely to be cost-effective, suggesting that current health policy should be reconsidered.
(See the editorial commentary by Lo Re III, on pages 1307–1309.)
Background. Hepatitis B virus (HBV) continues to cause significant morbidity and mortality in the United States. Current guidelines suggest screening populations with a prevalence of ≥2%. Our objective was to determine whether this screening threshold is cost-effective and whether screening lower-prevalence populations might also be cost-effective.
Methods. We developed a Markov state transition model to examine screening of asymptomatic outpatients in the United States. The base case was a 35-year-old man living in a region with an HBV infection prevalence of 2%. Interventions (versus no screening) included screening for Hepatitis B surface antigen followed by treatment of appropriate patients with (1) pegylated interferon-α2a for 48 weeks, (2) a low-cost nucleoside or nucleotide agent with a high rate of developing viral resistance for 48 weeks, (3) prolonged treatment with low-cost, high-resistance nucleoside or nucleotide, or (4) prolonged treatment with a high-cost nucleoside or nucleotide with a low rate of developing viral resistance. Effectiveness was measured in quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) and costs in 2008 US dollars.
Results. Screening followed by treatment with a low-cost, high-resistance nucleoside or nucleotide was cost-effective ($29,230 per QALY). Sensitivity analyses revealed that screening costs <$50,000 per QALY in extremely low-risk populations unless the prevalence of chronic HBV infection is <.3%.
Conclusions. The 2% threshold for prevalence of chronic HBV infection in current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/US Public Health Service screening guidelines is cost-effective. Furthermore, screening of adults in the United States in lower-prevalence populations (eg, as low as .3%) also is likely to be cost-effective, suggesting that current health policy should be reconsidered.
HCV incidence from 1996-2008 among HIV-infected men in U.S. HIV therapeutic trials was 0.51 per 100 person-years. Incident HCV occurred primarily through non-parenteral means; 75% of seroconverters reported no drug injection. At-risk HIV-infected persons should have access to HCV surveillance
Background. Outbreaks of sexually transmitted hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection have been reported among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–infected men who have sex with men in Europe, Australia, and New York. Whether this is occurring across the United States is unknown.
Methods. We determined incidence of HCV infection during 1996–2008 among male participants of the AIDS Clinical Trial Group Longitudinal Linked Randomized Trials cohort, a long-term study of HIV-infected persons randomized into selected US-based clinical trials. We evaluated associations with self-reported injection drug use (IDU), time-varying CD4+ cell count, and HIV RNA level with use of multivariate Poisson regression. No sexual or non-IDU risk factor data was available.
Results. A total of 1830 men had an initial negative HCV antibody test result and at least 1 subsequent HCV antibody test result, contributing >7000 person-years. At the time of the initial negative HCV antibody test result, 94% of men were receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) and 6% reported current or prior IDU. Thirty-six seroconverted, with overall incidence of .51 cases per 100 person-years (95% confidence interval, .36–.70). Mean age at seroconversion was 46 years. Seroconversion was associated with IDU (25% of seroconverters reported IDU history vs 5% of nonseroconverters; P < .001), whereas 75% (n = 27) of seroconverters reported no IDU (incidence, 2.67 cases per 100 person-years among IDUs, .40 cases per 100 person-years among non-IDUs). Seroconversion was associated with HIV RNA level >400 copies/mL (44% at time of antibody positivity vs 21% at time of last negative antibody test result; P = .02) but not with CD4+ cell count.
Conclusions. Incident HCV infection occurs in HIV-infected men involved in US HIV therapeutic trials, primarily through nonparenteral means, despite engagement in care and HAART. HCV antibody development was not related to immune status but was associated with inadequate HIV suppression. At-risk HIV-infected persons should have access to HCV surveillance.
Predictors of liver fibrosis were evaluated in women using a noninvasive index (FIB-4). HIV RNA levels were associated with increased FIB-4 in the absence of viral hepatitis, alcohol use, or antiretroviral therapy. These data complement evidence suggesting a potential relationship between HIV infection and hepatic fibrosis.
Background. FIB-4 represents a noninvasive, composite index that is a validated measure of hepatic fibrosis, which is an important indicator of liver disease. To date, there are limited data regarding hepatic fibrosis in women.
Methods. FIB-4 was evaluated in a cohort of 1227 women, and associations were evaluated in univariate and multivariate regression models among 4 groups of subjects classified by their human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection status.
Results. The median FIB-4 scores were 0.60 in HIV-/HCV- women, 0.83 in HIV-/HCV+ women, 0.86 in HIV+/HCV- women, and 1.30 in HIV+/HCV+ women. In the HIV/HCV co-infected group, multivariate analysis showed that CD4+ cell count and albumin level were negatively associated with FIB-4 (P <.0001), whereas antiretroviral therapy (ART) was positively associated with FIB-4 score (P =.0008). For the HIV mono-infected group, multivariate analysis showed that CD4+ cell count (P <.0001) and albumin level (P =.0019) were negatively correlated with FIB-4 score, ART was positively associated with FIB-4 score (P =.0008), and plasma HIV RNA level was marginally associated with FIB-4 score (P =.080). In 72 HIV mono-infected women who were also hepatitis B surface antigen negative, ART naive, and reported no recent alcohol intake, plasma HIV RNA level was associated with increased FIB-4 score (P =.030).
Conclusions. HIV RNA level was associated with increased FIB-4 score in the absence of hepatitis B, hepatitis C, ART, or alcohol use, suggesting a potential relationship between HIV infection and hepatic fibrosis in vivo. A better understanding of the various demographic and virologic variables that contribute to hepatic fibrosis may lead to more effective treatment of HIV infection and its co-morbid conditions.
HCV/HIV coinfection treatment is suboptimal with low SVR rates to standard therapies. A multicenter randomized clinical trial designed to assess the efficacy/safety of pegylated-interferon maintenance therapy was performed by the NIH-funded ACTG network.
HCV treatment naïve and non-responding interferon-experienced subjects with confirmed HCV and HIV, CD4>200 cells/mm3, and at least Stage 1 fibrosis were enrolled, and treated for 12 weeks with pegylated interferon alfa 2a 180 mcg/week (PEG) + weight-based ribavirin to determine response status. Non-responder subjects (failure to clear HCV RNA or achieve 2-log drop) underwent liver biopsy and were randomized to receive full dose PEG or observation only for 72 weeks. Paired biopsies were evaluated by a central pathologist.
330 subjects were enrolled; median age was 48 years; 43% White, 37% Black, non-Hispanic; 83% male; CD4+ 498 cells/mm3; 32% were interferon experienced; 74% had entry HIV RNA<50 cp/ml. EVR was observed in 55.9% and 42.5% achieved cEVR. A planned interim analysis of occurred when 84 subjects were randomized. With data on 40 paired biopsies available, a safety monitoring board stopped the trial due to lack of fibrosis progression (median = 0 Metavir units/year) in the observation arm.
Lack of fibrotic progression in the control arm was unexpected, and may represent a short-term PEG/ribavirin therapy effect, high levels of HIV viral suppression and use of antiretroviral regimens that may be less toxic than prior generations of therapy.
HCV; HIV; Maintenance; Racial Disparity; Fibrosis
Background & Aims
Liver fibrosis is a significant concern for patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV)/HIV co-infection. Fibrosis staging by biopsy is accurate but costly and invasive. Several fibrosis prediction models utilizing non-invasive biomarkers have been developed but are suboptimal in co-infected patients. We compared results from different staging models and ordinal regression with biopsy data.
Data from the Adult AIDS Clinical Trials Group protocol A5178 were used to evaluate 5 models of fibrosis staging; areas under receiver-operator characteristic curves (AUROC) were assessed. Individual covariates were assessed with univariable regression then entered into an ordinal logistic regression model from which a stage-wise index was developed.
Data from 173 patients were evaluated; 85% were on anti-retroviral therapy, 31.2% had severe fibrosis (F3/F4) and 14% had cirrhosis (F4). Differences in CD4+ cell and platelets counts and international normalized ratio values were observed between those with and without F3/F4. Among existing models, the FIB-4 index performed best, with 88% specificity for F4 and >86% negative predictive values for F3/F4, although AUROC values were low (0.56±0.03 for F3/F4). Using patients’ demographic, clinical, and laboratory data, the ordinal regression model outperformed others, with AUROC = 0.85 (SE 0.03) for predicting stage F3/F4 and 0.89 (SE 0.05) for stage 3 alone.
Current noninvasive methods of fibrosis assessment have poor discriminatory capacity in HCV/HIV co-infected patients. Ordinal regression analysis outperformed other non-invasive fibrosis prediction models. Longitudinal studies with paired biopsies will assist in refining the ordinal regression index.
Noninvasive fibrosis assessment; HCV/HIV coinfection; Applied ordinal regression
Hepatitis C-related arthropathy is one of the most common extrahepatic manifestations of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Although symptoms can be disabling, the prognosis typically is benign. Patients who have atypical chronic inflammatory arthritis with an unknown cause should be evaluated for HCV infection. Testing for antibodies against cyclic citrullinated peptide is useful for distinguishing HCV-related arthropathy from rheumatoid arthritis. Early recognition of HCV infection greatly influences the selection of drug therapy. Although no clinical guidelines are available, many liver disease specialists favor using a stepwise approach to treatment. Future research efforts that focus on the pathogenesis of HCV-related arthropathy and novel therapeutic approaches are needed. (J Musculoskel Med. 2010;27:351-354)
There are limited data on diversity within the hepatitis C virus polymerase (NS5B). In concordance with its key functional role during the life cycle, NS5B intrapatient variability was low. Moreover, differences between NS5B nonsynonymous (dN) and synonymous (dS) mutation rates (dN − dS) were positively correlated with CD4 cell count, while nonsynonymous mutations were strongly correlated with reduced replication in vivo.
HCV/HIV coinfection has emerged as a major cause of morbidity and mortality due to liver disease. Interferon-based therapy response rates have been disappointingly low. Baseline HCV complexity and the relationship between complexity and viral kinetic parameters has not been well described in HCV/HIV subjects. A subset of patients enrolled in ACTG 5071 underwent sampling to evaluate viral kinetics and HCV complexity changes. Early kinetic parameters, baseline complexity, and treatment outcomes, including rapid (RVR), early (EVR), and sustained (SVR) viral response were evaluated. HCV monoinfected subjects were matched to HCV/HIV coinfected subjects.
Baseline complexity was determined in 108 HCV/HIV coinfected subjects and 13 HCV controls. Quasispecies complexity was 2.24 in HCV/HIV and 1.90 in monoinfected subjects (p=0.14). Lower baseline complexity was associated with EVR (p=0.04) and approached significance for SVR. In patients who underwent viral kinetic modeling, complexity decrease was associated with RVR (p= 0.03), and was independent of the correlation between first phase viral decline efficiency and RVR.
Baseline HCV complexity is an independent predictor of early viral response in HCV/HIV subjects. Complexity decrease occurs by 4 weeks of interferon-based therapy and is associated with RVR. These findings may enhance predictive modeling of treatment outcomes in HCV/HIV patients.
HCV; HIV; RNA; Quasispecies; Complexity; Pegylated-interferon; Coinfection
Chronic hepatitis B virus infection is characterized by persistent detectable levels of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and HBV DNA in the serum. In contrast, HBsAg is not detectable during occult HBV infection, despite the presence of HBV DNA. An altered host immune response could play a role in the development of occult HBV infection; however, potential differences in immune responses among chronic and occult HBV-infected patients have not been evaluated in vivo. In the current study, we evaluated serum levels of regulatory, apoptotic, and fibrotic/anti-fibrotic cytokines/markers as indicators of immune responses in 25 chronic and 12 occult HBV-infected patients. More than half of the patients in both chronic and occult HBV infection groups had IL-2, IL-4, IL-13, and IFN-γ levels below detectable limits. In contrast, most patients had detectable levels of IL-8, IL-10, IP-10, sFas, sFasL, and TGF-β1. Of these, only sFas was significantly different between the two groups, with lower levels observed during occult compared to chronic HBV infection (p = 0.01). As a surrogate marker of apoptotic inhibition, decreased sFas during occult HBV infection suggests that apoptosis occurs at different rates in occult compared to chronic HBV infection and therefore, may contribute to persistence of occult HBV infection.
Cytokine; HBV/HIV co-infection; Occult hepatitis B virus; Soluble Fas (sFas)
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) non-nucleoside inhibitors (NNIs) target the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase encoded by the NS5B gene. Several NNIs share a similar allosteric binding site, and their antiviral efficacy is attenuated by a cysteine-to-tyrosine mutation at amino acid 316 (C316Y). In the current study, we assessed NS5B resistance mutations in treatment-naive individuals from a prospective natural history study of viral infections in women.
Partial NS5B sequences from HCV-positive women were amplified by RT–PCR. Additionally, subcloning was performed to evaluate intrapatient variability in selected samples.
HCV NS5B genotypes were 45 genotype 1a (57.0%), 11 genotype 1b (13.9%), 5 genotype 2a (6.3%), 3 genotype 2b (3.8%), 9 genotype 3a (11.4%) and 6 genotype 4a (7.6%). One HCV genotype 1a-infected patient was found to have the C316Y mutation (1.3%). Clonal analysis further revealed that all NS5B sequences from this individual—representing three serum samples collected 4 years apart—contained the C316Y mutation. In contrast, the S282T resistance mutation was not found in any samples.
The C316Y polymerase resistance mutation was found in 1.3% of samples from HCV-infected women. The presence of this mutation over time suggests significant replicative fitness of this variant and has implications for development of new specifically targeted antiviral therapies against HCV (STAT-C) targeting this region.
HCV; NS5B; C316Y
Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a common cause of acute viral hepatitis (AVH) in many developing countries. In Egypt, HEV seroprevalence is among the highest in the world; however, only a very limited number of Egyptian HEV sequences are currently available.
The objectives were to determine the HEV genotype(s) currently circulating in Egypt.
AVH patients without serologic evidence of hepatitis A, B, and C viruses were evaluated for possible HEV infection using serologic assays for anti-HEV IgM and anti-HEV IgG and real-time PCR for HEV RNA. Stool suspensions from suspected cases were inoculated into rhesus macaques to confirm the presence of HEV. Sequence analysis was utilized to determine HEV genotype.
Of 287 subjects with AVH enrolled, 58 had serologic evidence of acute HEV infection. Stool samples for two of these patients were repeatedly positive for HEV RNA by real-time PCR. Macaques experimentally inoculated with these human stools also developed viremia. Sequence analysis of open reading frame (ORF) 1 demonstrated that these isolates belonged to HEV genotype 1 and were 3.9% – 9.5% divergent from other genotype 1 isolates. ORF2 was 5.3% – 8.7% divergent from previously reported Egyptian isolates.
This study strongly suggests that genotype 1 HEV related to other North African isolates is circulating in acute symptomatic patients in Egypt. Further evaluation of genotypic variability is underway in this highly endemic cohort and is considered an important component of our increased understanding of HEV pathogenesis.
Hepatitis E virus (HEV); Egypt; symptomatic; genotype; diversity
The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education requires fellows in many specialties to demonstrate attainment of 6 core competencies, yet relatively few validated assessment tools currently exist. We present our initial experience with the design and implementation of a standardized patient (SP) exercise during gastroenterology fellowship that facilitates appraisal of all core clinical competencies.
Fellows evaluated an SP trained to portray an individual referred for evaluation of abnormal liver tests. The encounters were independently graded by the SP and a faculty preceptor for patient care, professionalism, and interpersonal and communication skills using quantitative checklist tools. Trainees' consultation notes were scored using predefined key elements (medical knowledge) and subjected to a coding audit (systems-based practice). Practice-based learning and improvement was addressed via verbal feedback from the SP and self-assessment of the videotaped encounter.
Six trainees completed the exercise. Second-year fellows received significantly higher scores in medical knowledge (55.0 ± 4.2 [standard deviation], P = .05) and patient care skills (19.5 ± 0.7, P = .04) by a faculty evaluator as compared with first-year trainees (46.2 ± 2.3 and 14.7 ± 1.5, respectively). Scores correlated by Spearman rank (0.82, P = .03) with the results of the Gastroenterology Training Examination. Ratings of the fellows by the SP did not differ by level of training, nor did they correlate with faculty scores. Fellows viewed the exercise favorably, with most indicating they would alter their practice based on the experience.
An SP exercise is an efficient and effective tool for assessing core clinical competencies during fellowship training.
In the United States, the seroprevalence rate for hepatitis E virus (HEV) is ≈20%. This study examined HEV seroprevalence in persons with and without chronic liver disease. Our data indicate that HEV seropositivity is high in patients with chronic liver disease and that HEV seroprevalence increases significantly with age.
Hepatitis E; chronic liver disease; seroprevalence; dispatch
Objectives: We sought to assess health values of patients coinfected with HIV/hepatitis C (HCV) and compare them with those of patients singly infected with HIV or HCV and to characterize and assess the relationship of clinical and nonhealth-related factors with health values.
Subjects: We studied a total of 203 subjects infected with HIV, HCV, or both.
Measures: We assessed rating scale (RS), time tradeoff (TTO), and standard gamble (SG) values, and we explored associations of health values with the Mental Component Summary (MCS) and Physical Component Summary (PCS) of the SF-12; number of bothersome symptoms from the HIV Symptoms Index; spirituality, as assessed by the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy, Spiritual Well-being scale; as well as with a number of demographic, clinical, and psychosocial characteristics.
Results: Of the 203 subjects, 59 (29%) had HIV monoinfection, 69 (34%) had HCV monoinfection, and 75 (37%) were coinfected. The mean (SD) health values for the cohort were: RS = 0.69 (0.23), TTO = 0.88 (0.24), and SG = 0.78 (0.30). Infection type was related, albeit differently, to TTO values (mean values for patients with coinfection = 0.82; HIV = 0.91; and HCV = 0.91 [P < 0.05]) and SG values (coinfection = 0.77; HIV = 0.70; and HCV = 0.87; P < 0.05). In multivariable models, RS scores were significantly associated with sexual orientation, PCS scores, MCS scores, symptoms, and spirituality (adjusted R2 = 0.61); TTO with symptoms and spirituality (adjusted R2 = 0.23); and SG with infection type, PCS scores, and symptoms (adjusted R2 = 0.24).
Conclusions: Health values and their correlates varied by method of assessment. Health values appear to be driven more by symptoms, health status, and spirituality than by number of viral infections.
quality of life; health values; HIV; hepatitis C
Hepatitis C virus (HCV)-specific T-cell responses are rarely detected in peripheral blood, especially in the presence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) coinfection. Based on recent evidence that T-regulatory cells may be increased in chronic HCV, we hypothesized that functional blockade of regulatory cells could raise HCV-specific responses and might be differentially regulated in the setting of HIV coinfection. Three groups of subjects were studied: HCV monoinfected, HCV-HIV coinfected, and healthy controls. Frequencies of peripheral T cells specific for peptides derived from HCV core, HIV type 1 p24, and recall antigens were analyzed by gamma interferon (IFN-γ) enzyme-linked immunospot assay. HCV-specific T-cell responses were very weak in groups with HCV and HCV-HIV infections. Addition of blocking antibodies against transforming growth factor β1 (TGF-β1), -2, and -3 and interleukin-10 specifically increased the HCV-specific T-cell responses in both infected groups; however, this increase was attenuated in the group with HCV-HIV coinfection compared to HCV infection alone. No increase in recall antigen- or HIV-specific responses was observed. Flow cytometric sorter analysis demonstrated that regulatory-associated cytokines were produced by HCV-specific CD3+CD8+CD25− cells. Enhancement of the IFN-γ effect was observed for both CD4 and CD8 T cells and was mediated primarily by TGF-β1, -2, and -3 neutralization. In conclusion, blockade of TGF-β secretion could enhance peripheral HCV-specific T-cell responses even in the presence of HIV coinfection.
In patients with genotype 1 chronic hepatitis C infection, telaprevir (TVR) in combination with peginterferon and ribavirin (PR) significantly increased sustained virologic response (SVR) rates compared with PR alone. However, genotypic changes could be observed in TVR-treated patients who did not achieve an SVR.
Population sequence analysis of the NS3•4A region was performed in patients who did not achieve SVR with TVR-based treatment.
Resistant variants were observed after treatment with a telaprevir-based regimen in 12% of treatment-naïve patients (ADVANCE; T12PR arm), 6% of prior relapsers, 24% of prior partial responders, and 51% of prior null responder patients (REALIZE, T12PR48 arms). NS3 protease variants V36M, R155K, and V36M+R155K emerged frequently in patients with genotype 1a and V36A, T54A, and A156S/T in patients with genotype 1b. Lower-level resistance to telaprevir was conferred by V36A/M, T54A/S, R155K/T, and A156S variants; and higher-level resistance to telaprevir was conferred by A156T and V36M+R155K variants. Virologic failure during telaprevir treatment was more common in patients with genotype 1a and in prior PR nonresponder patients and was associated with higher-level telaprevir-resistant variants. Relapse was usually associated with wild-type or lower-level resistant variants. After treatment, viral populations were wild-type with a median time of 10 months for genotype 1a and 3 weeks for genotype 1b patients.
A consistent, subtype-dependent resistance profile was observed in patients who did not achieve an SVR with telaprevir-based treatment. The primary role of TVR is to inhibit wild-type virus and variants with lower-levels of resistance to telaprevir. The complementary role of PR is to clear any remaining telaprevir-resistant variants, especially higher-level telaprevir-resistant variants. Resistant variants are detectable in most patients who fail to achieve SVR, but their levels decline over time after treatment.