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1.  MIV-150-Containing Intravaginal Rings Protect Macaque Vaginal Explants against SHIV-RT Infection 
Recent studies demonstrated that intravaginal rings (IVRs) containing 100 mg of the nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) MIV-150 significantly protect macaques against a chimeric simian-human immunodeficiency virus that expresses the HIV-1 HxB2 reverse transcriptase (SHIV-RT) when present before and after vaginal challenge. The objectives of this study were to (i) evaluate the pharmacodynamics (PD) of MIV-150 in vaginal fluids (VF) and in ectocervical and vaginal tissues following 100-mg MIV-150 IVR exposure and to (ii) gain more insight whether pharmacokinetics (PK) of MIV-150 can predict PD. MIV-150 in VF collected at 1 day and 14 days post-MIV-150 IVR insertion inhibited ex vivo SHIV-RT infection in vaginal biopsy specimens from untreated animals (not carrying IVRs) in a dose-dependent manner. Previous PK studies demonstrated a significant increase of ectocervical and vaginal tissue MIV-150 concentrations 14 days versus 1 day post-IVR insertion, with the highest increase in vaginal tissue. Therefore, we tested PD of MIV-150 in tissues 14 days post-MIV-150 IVR insertion. Ex vivo SHIV-RT infection of vaginal, but not ectocervical, tissues collected 14 days post-MIV-150 IVR insertion was significantly inhibited compared to infection at the baseline (prior to MIV-150 IVR exposure). No changes in vaginal and ectocervical tissue infection were observed after placebo IVR exposure. Overall, these data underscore the use of the ex vivo macaque explant challenge models to evaluate tissue and VF PK/PD of candidate microbicides before in vivo animal efficacy studies. The data support further development of MIV-150-containing IVRs.
PMCID: PMC3993268  PMID: 24614384
2.  A MIV-150/Zinc Acetate Gel Inhibits SHIV-RT Infection in Macaque Vaginal Explants 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e108109.
To extend our observations that single or repeated application of a gel containing the NNRTI MIV-150 (M) and zinc acetate dihydrate (ZA) in carrageenan (CG) (MZC) inhibits vaginal transmission of simian/human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV)-RT in macaques, we evaluated safety and anti-SHIV-RT activity of MZC and related gel formulations ex vivo in macaque mucosal explants. In addition, safety was further evaluated in human ectocervical explants. The gels did not induce mucosal toxicity. A single ex vivo exposure to diluted MZC (1∶30, 1∶100) and MC (1∶30, the only dilution tested), but not to ZC gel, up to 4 days prior to viral challenge, significantly inhibited SHIV-RT infection in macaque vaginal mucosa. MZC's activity was not affected by seminal plasma. The antiviral activity of unformulated MIV-150 was not enhanced in the presence of ZA, suggesting that the antiviral activity of MZC was mediated predominantly by MIV-150. In vivo administration of MZC and CG significantly inhibited ex vivo SHIV-RT infection (51–62% inhibition relative to baselines) of vaginal (but not cervical) mucosa collected 24 h post last gel exposure, indicating barrier effect of CG. Although the inhibitory effect of MZC (65–74%) did not significantly differ from CG (32–45%), it was within the range of protection (∼75%) against vaginal SHIV-RT challenge 24 h after gel dosing. Overall, the data suggest that evaluation of candidate microbicides in macaque explants can inform macaque efficacy and clinical studies design. The data support advancing MZC gel for clinical evaluation.
PMCID: PMC4178065  PMID: 25259616
3.  A Potent Combination Microbicide that Targets SHIV-RT, HSV-2 and HPV 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e94547.
Prevalent infection with human herpes simplex 2 (HSV-2) or human papillomavirus (HPV) is associated with increased human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) acquisition. Microbicides that target HIV as well as these sexually transmitted infections (STIs) may more effectively limit HIV incidence. Previously, we showed that a microbicide gel (MZC) containing MIV-150, zinc acetate (ZA) and carrageenan (CG) protected macaques against simian-human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV-RT) infection and that a ZC gel protected mice against HSV-2 infection. Here we evaluated a modified MZC gel (containing different buffers, co-solvents, and preservatives suitable for clinical testing) against both vaginal and rectal challenge of animals with SHIV-RT, HSV-2 or HPV. MZC was stable and safe in vitro (cell viability and monolayer integrity) and in vivo (histology). MZC protected macaques against vaginal (p<0.0001) SHIV-RT infection when applied up to 8 hours (h) prior to challenge. When used close to the time of challenge, MZC prevented rectal SHIV-RT infection of macaques similar to the CG control. MZC significantly reduced vaginal (p<0.0001) and anorectal (p = 0.0187) infection of mice when 106 pfu HSV-2 were applied immediately after vaginal challenge and also when 5×103 pfu were applied between 8 h before and 4 h after vaginal challenge (p<0.0248). Protection of mice against 8×106 HPV16 pseudovirus particles (HPV16 PsV) was significant for MZC applied up to 24 h before and 2 h after vaginal challenge (p<0.0001) and also if applied 2 h before or after anorectal challenge (p<0.0006). MZC provides a durable window of protection against vaginal infection with these three viruses and, against HSV-2 and HPV making it an excellent candidate microbicide for clinical use.
PMCID: PMC3989196  PMID: 24740100
4.  Simian Immunodeficiency Virus Interactions with Macaque Dendritic Cells 
This chapter summarizes advances in the following areas: (1) dendritic cell (DC)-mediated simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) transmission, (2) role of DCs in innate and adaptive immunity against SIV, and (3) approaches to harness DC function to induce anti-SIV responses. The nonhuman primate (NHP) model of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in rhesus macaques and other Asian NHP species is highly relevant to advance the understanding of virus–host interactions critical for transmission and disease pathogenesis. HIV infection is associated with changes in frequency, phenotype, and function of the two principal subsets of DCs, myeloid DCs and plasmacytoid DCs. DC biology during pathogenic SIV infection is strikingly similar to that observed in HIV-infected patients. The NHP models provide an opportunity to dissect the requirements for DC-driven SIV infection and to understand how SIV distorts the DC system to its advantage. Furthermore, the SIV model of mucosal transmission enables the study of the earliest events of infection at the portal of entry that cannot be studied in humans, and, importantly, the involvement of DCs. Nonpathogenic infection in African NHP hosts allows investigations into the role of DCs in disease control. Understanding how DCs are altered during SIV infection is critical to the design of therapeutic and preventative strategies against HIV.
PMCID: PMC3775332  PMID: 22975875
5.  Neisseria gonorrhoeae Enhances HIV-1 Infection of Primary Resting CD4+ T Cells through TLR2 Activation 
Sexually transmitted infections increase the likelihood of HIV-1 transmission. We investigated the effect of Neisseria gonorrheae (gonococcus [GC]) exposure on HIV replication in primary resting CD4+ T cells, a major HIV target cell during the early stage of sexual transmission of HIV. GC and TLR2 agonists, such as peptidylglycan (PGN), Pam3CSK4, and Pam3C-Lip, a GC-derived synthetic lipopeptide, but not TLR4 agonists including LPS or GC lipooligosaccharide enhanced HIV-1 infection of primary resting CD4+ T cells after viral entry. Pretreatment of CD4+ cells with PGN also promoted HIV infection. Anti-TLR2 Abs abolished the HIV enhancing effect of GC and Pam3C-Lip, indicating that GC-mediated enhancement of HIV infection of resting CD4+ T cells was through TLR2. IL-2 was required for TLR2–mediated HIV enhancement. PGN and GC induced cell surface expression of T cell activation markers and HIV coreceptors, CCR5 and CXCR4. The maximal postentry HIV enhancing effect was achieved when PGN was added immediately after viral exposure. Kinetic studies and analysis of HIV DNA products indicated that GC exposure and TLR2 activation enhanced HIV infection at the step of nuclear import. We conclude that GC enhanced HIV infection of primary resting CD4+ T cells through TLR2 activation, which both increased the susceptibility of primary CD4+ T cells to HIV infection as well as enhanced HIV-infected CD4+ T cells at the early stage of HIV life cycle after entry. This study provides a molecular mechanism by which nonulcerative sexually transmitted infections mediate enhancement of HIV infection and has implication for HIV prevention and therapeutics.
PMCID: PMC3739425  PMID: 20147631
6.  The Nonnucleoside Reverse Transcription Inhibitor MIV-160 Delivered from an Intravaginal Ring, But Not from a Carrageenan Gel, Protects Against Simian/Human Immunodeficiency Virus-RT Infection 
AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses  2012;28(11):1467-1475.
We previously showed that a carrageenan (CG) gel containing 50 μM MIV-150 (MIV-150/CG) reduced vaginal simian/human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV)-RT infection of macaques (56%, p>0.05) when administered daily for 2 weeks with the last dose given 8 h before challenge. Additionally, when 100 mg of MIV-150 was loaded into an intravaginal ring (IVR) inserted 24 h before challenge and removed 2 weeks after challenge, >80% protection was observed (p<0.03). MIV-160 is a related NNRTI with a similar IC50, greater aqueous solubility, and a shorter synthesis. To objectively compare MIV-160 with MIV-150, herein we evaluated the antiviral effects of unformulated MIV-160 in vitro as well as the in vivo protection afforded by MIV-160 delivered in CG (MIV-160/CG gel) and in an IVR under regimens used with MIV-150 in earlier studies. Like MIV-150, MIV-160 exhibited potent antiviral activity against SHIV-RT in macaque vaginal explants. However, formulated MIV-160 exhibited divergent effects in vivo. The MIV-160/CG gel offered no protection compared to CG alone, whereas the MIV-160 IVRs protected significantly. Importantly, the results of in vitro release studies of the MIV-160/CG gel and the MIV-160 IVR suggested that in vivo efficacy paralleled the amount of MIV-160 released in vitro. Hundreds of micrograms of MIV-160 were released daily from IVRs while undetectable amounts of MIV-160 were released from the CG gel. Our findings highlight the importance of testing different modalities of microbicide delivery to identify the optimal formulation for efficacy in vivo.
PMCID: PMC3484820  PMID: 22816564
7.  Mucosal Human Defensins 5 and 6 Antagonize the Anti-HIV Activity of Candidate Polyanion Microbicides 
Journal of Innate Immunity  2010;3(2):208-212.
Defensins are highly abundant antimicrobial peptides in the female genital mucosa. We have previously shown that human defensins 5 and 6 (HD5 and HD6), produced by cervicovaginal epithelial cells, significantly enhance HIV infectivity in vitro. Candidate polyanion microbicides, including PRO 2000, cellulose sulfate and carrageenan, failed to protect women against HIV infection in large-scale clinical trials, but the molecular basis of ineffectiveness was not clear. We hypothesized that mucosal host factors such as HD5 an HD6 may alter the activity of polyanion microbicides against HIV. Our results demonstrated that HD5 and HD6 but not their linear analogs antagonized the anti-HIV activity of PRO 2000, cellulose sulfate and carrageenan in vitro. Polyanion microbicides also reduced the HIV-enhancing effect of these defensins. We conclude that mucosal host factors could negatively impact the efficacy of topical microbicides against HIV, and their impact on the activity of candidate microbicides needs to be considered during the preclinical evaluation.
PMCID: PMC3072205  PMID: 21160168
Defensins; HIV; Polyanion microbicides
8.  Neisseria gonorrhoeae-Induced Human Defensins 5 and 6 Increase HIV Infectivity: Role in Enhanced Transmission1 
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) increase the likelihood of HIV transmission. Defensins are part of the innate mucosal immune response to STIs and therefore we investigated their role in HIV infection. We found that human defensins 5 and 6 (HD5 and HD6) promoted HIV infection, and this effect was primarily during viral entry. Enhancement was seen with primary viral isolates in primary CD4+ T cells and the effect was more pronounced with R5 virus compared with X4 virus. HD5 and HD6 promoted HIV reporter viruses pseudotyped with vesicular stomatitis virus and murine leukemia virus envelopes, indicating that defensin-mediated enhancement was not dependent on CD4 and coreceptors. Enhancement of HIV by HD5 and HD6 was influenced by the structure of the peptides, as loss of the intramolecular cysteine bonds was associated with loss of the HIV-enhancing effect. Pro-HD5, the precursor and intracellular form of HD5, also exhibited HIV-enhancing effect. Using a cervicovaginal tissue culture system, we found that expression of HD5 and HD6 was induced in response to Neisseria gonorrhoeae (GC, for gonococcus) infection and that conditioned medium from GC-exposed cervicovaginal epithelial cells with elevated levels of HD5 also enhanced HIV infection. Introduction of small interfering RNAs for HD5 or HD6 abolished the HIV-enhancing effect mediated by GC. Thus, the induction of these defensins in the mucosa in the setting of GC infection could facilitate HIV infection. Furthermore, this study demonstrates the complexity of defensins as innate immune mediators in HIV transmission and warrants further investigation of the mechanism by which defensins modulate HIV infection.
PMCID: PMC3042429  PMID: 18424739
9.  Inhibitory Effect of PRO 2000, a Candidate Microbicide, on Dendritic Cell-Mediated Human Immunodeficiency Virus Transfer▿  
Without an effective vaccine against human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, topical microbicide development has become a priority. The sulfonated polyanion PRO 2000, a candidate topical microbicide now in phase II/III clinical trials, blocks HIV infection of cervical tissue in vitro. Dendritic cells (DC) are among the first cell types to contact HIV in the genital tract and facilitate the spread of the virus. Thus, interfering with virus-DC interactions is a desirable characteristic of topical microbicides as long as that does not interfere with the normal function of DC. PRO 2000 present during capture of the replication-defective HIVJRFL reporter virus or replication-competent HIVBaL by monocyte-derived DC (MDDC) inhibited subsequent HIV transfer to target cells. Continuous exposure to PRO 2000 during MDDC-target cell coculture effectively inhibited HIV infection of target cells. PRO 2000 inhibited HIV capture by MDDC. In addition, the compound blocked R5 and X4 HIV envelope-mediated cell-cell fusion. Interestingly, simultaneous exposure to PRO 2000 and lipopolysaccharide attenuated the cytokine production in response to stimulation, suggesting that the compound altered DC function. While efficient blocking of MDDC-mediated virus transfer and infection in the highly permissive MDDC-T-cell environment reinforces the potential value of PRO 2000 as a topical microbicide against HIV, the impact of PRO 2000 on immune cell functions warrants careful evaluation.
PMCID: PMC2346652  PMID: 18332174
10.  SAMMA, a mandelic acid condensation polymer, inhibits dendritic cell-mediated HIV transmission 
FEBS letters  2007;581(24):4596-4602.
SAMMA, a mandelic acid condensation polymer, exhibits a broad antimicrobial activity against several sexually transmitted pathogens including HIV. Here we demonstrated that SAMMA suppressed HIV transmission by dendritic cells (DCs), one of the first target cells for primary infection. The greatest inhibitory effect was achieved when SAMMA was present during the co-culture with target cells. The inhibitory effect of SAMMA on DC-mediated HIV transmission was not due to cytotoxicity. Analysis of the level of DC-associated HIV p24 antigen revealed that SAMMA prevented HIV internalization by DCs when the virus was pre-incubated with the compound. In contrast, pre-incubation of DCs with SAMMA followed by wash-off did not affect the amount of cell-associated HIV p24 antigen. In addition, SAMMA blocked HIV glycoprotein-mediated cell-cell fusion. This study suggests that SAMMA prevents HIV infection through multiple mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC2018605  PMID: 17825297
Microbicide; Dendritic cell; HIV transmission; cell-cell fusion; non-sulfonated polyanions
11.  Enzyme-Linked Immunospot Assays Provide a Sensitive Tool for Detection of Cytokine Secretion by Monocytes 
Blood monocytes as well as tissue-differentiated macrophages play a pivotal role in controlling immune reactions. Monocytes regulate the extent, nature, and duration of immune responses by secretion of cytokines. Interleukin 6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), IL-10, and IL-12 are of particular interest, since IL-12 shifts the immune response towards a Th1 type, facilitating the production of, e.g., TNF-α and IL-6, while IL-10 counteracts Th1 responses and promotes the production of Th2-related cytokines such as IL-4. A tight regulation of these four cytokines keeps the balance and decides whether Th1 or Th2 will predominate in immune reactions. Enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISPOT) assays are among the most-sensitive and -specific methods available for cytokine research. They permit ex vivo identification of individual cells actively secreting cytokines. In the present study we prepared monocytes from healthy subjects' blood and adapted ELISPOT assays to define optimal conditions to detect and enumerate monocytes secreting IL-6, TNF-α, IL-10, and IL-12. The optimal time for monocyte incubation was 24 h, and optimal monocyte numbers (in cells per well) were 2,000 for IL-6, 1,000 for TNF-α, 50,000 for IL-10, and 100,000 for enumeration of IL-12 secreting monocytes. Among healthy subjects, 10% ± 5% of the monocytes secreted IL-6, 12% ± 12% secreted TNF-α, 0.1% ± 0.1% secreted IL-10, and 0.2% ± 0.3% secreted IL-12 (values are means ± standard deviations). In conclusion, ELISPOT assays constitute a valuable tool to enumerate monocytes secreting IL-6, TNF-α, IL-10, and IL-12 and probably to enumerate monocytes secreting other cytokines and proteins.
PMCID: PMC96257  PMID: 11687471

Results 1-11 (11)