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1.  Rapid Perturbation in Viremia Levels Drives Increases in Functional Avidity of HIV-specific CD8 T Cells 
PLoS Pathogens  2013;9(7):e1003423.
The factors determining the functional avidity and its relationship with the broad heterogeneity of antiviral T cell responses remain partially understood. We investigated HIV-specific CD8 T cell responses in 85 patients with primary HIV infection (PHI) or chronic (progressive and non-progressive) infection. The functional avidity of HIV-specific CD8 T cells was not different between patients with progressive and non-progressive chronic infection. However, it was significantly lower in PHI patients at the time of diagnosis of acute infection and after control of virus replication following one year of successful antiretroviral therapy. High-avidity HIV-specific CD8 T cells expressed lower levels of CD27 and CD28 and were enriched in cells with an exhausted phenotype, i.e. co-expressing PD-1/2B4/CD160. Of note, a significant increase in the functional avidity of HIV-specific CD8 T cells occurred in early-treated PHI patients experiencing a virus rebound after spontaneous treatment interruption. This increase in functional avidity was associated with the accumulation of PD-1/2B4/CD160 positive cells, loss of polyfunctionality and increased TCR renewal. The increased TCR renewal may provide the mechanistic basis for the generation of high-avidity HIV-specific CD8 T cells. These results provide insights on the relationships between functional avidity, viremia, T-cell exhaustion and TCR renewal of antiviral CD8 T cell responses.
Author Summary
CD8 T cells directed against virus are complex and functionally heterogeneous. One relevant component of CD8 T cells is their functional avidity which reflects their sensitivity to cognate antigens, i.e. how prone T cells are to respond when they encounter low doses of antigens. In patients with chronic and established HIV infection, we observed that the sensitivity of HIV-specific CD8 T cells was not different between patients with progressive or non-progressive disease. In contrast, the sensitivity of HIV-specific CD8 T cells was significantly lower in patients with early and recent HIV infection. Furthermore, CD8 T cells of high avidity were preferentially associated with a state of functional impairment known as exhaustion. Of interest, some patients treated with antiretroviral therapy during acute infection spontaneously interrupted their treatment and experienced a rebound of virus. In these patients, the avidity of HIV-specific CD8 T cells increased and this increase was associated to stronger cell exhaustion and greater renewal of the population of antiviral CD8 T cells, thus potentially providing the mechanistic basis for the generation of high-avidity CD8 T cells. Overall, our data suggest that rapid perturbation in viremia levels drove increases in the functional avidity of HIV-specific CD8 T cells.
doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1003423
PMCID: PMC3701695  PMID: 23853580
2.  Perception of tobacco, cannabis, and alcohol use of others is associated with one’s own use 
Background
Interventions have been developed to reduce overestimations of substance use among others, especially for alcohol and among students. Nevertheless, there is a lack of knowledge on misperceptions of use for substances other than alcohol. We studied the prevalence of misperceptions of use for tobacco, cannabis, and alcohol and whether the perception of tobacco, cannabis, and alcohol use by others is associated with one’s own use.
Methods
Participants (n = 5216) in a cohort study from a census of 20-year-old men (N = 11,819) estimated the prevalence of tobacco and cannabis use among peers of the same age and sex and the percentage of their peers drinking more alcohol than they did. Using the census data, we determined whether participants overestimated, accurately estimated, or underestimated substance use by others. Regression models were used to compare substance use by those who overestimated or underestimated peer substance with those who accurately estimated peer use. Other variables included in the analyses were the presence of close friends with alcohol or other drug problems and family history of substance use.
Results
Tobacco use by others was overestimated by 46.1% and accurately estimated by 37.3% of participants. Cannabis use by others was overestimated by 21.8% and accurately estimated by 31.6% of participants. Alcohol use by others was overestimated by more than half (53.4%) of participants and accurately estimated by 31.0%. In multivariable models, compared with participants who accurately estimated tobacco use by others, those who overestimated it reported smoking more cigarettes per week (incidence rate ratio [IRR] [95% CI], 1.17 [range, 1.05, 1.32]). There was no difference in the number of cigarettes smoked per week between those underestimating and those accurately estimating tobacco use by others (IRR [95% CI], 0.99 [range, 0.84, 1.17]). Compared with participants accurately estimating cannabis use by others, those who overestimated it reported more days of cannabis use per month (IRR [95% CI], 1.43 [range, 1.21, 1.70]), whereas those who underestimated it reported fewer days of cannabis use per month (IRR [95% CI], 0.62 [range, 0.23, 0.75]). Compared with participants accurately estimating alcohol use by others, those who overestimated it reported consuming more drinks per week (IRR [95% CI], 1.57 [range, 1.43, 1.72]), whereas those who underestimated it reported consuming fewer drinks per week (IRR [95% CI], 0.41 [range, 0.34, 0.50]).
Conclusions
Perceptions of substance use by others are associated with one’s own use. In particular, overestimating use by others is frequent among young men and is associated with one’s own greater consumption. This association is independent of the substance use environment, indicating that, even in the case of proximity to a heavy-usage group, perception of use by others may influence one’s own use. If preventive interventions are to be based on normative feedback, and their aim is to reduce overestimations of use by others, then the prevalence of overestimation indicates that they may be of benefit to roughly half the population; or, in the case of cannabis, to as few as 20%. Such interventions should take into account differing strengths of association across substances.
doi:10.1186/1940-0640-8-15
PMCID: PMC3853223  PMID: 24499600
Overestimation; Substance use; Perception; Alcohol; Tobacco; Cannabis
3.  Factors associated with latent tuberculosis among asylum seekers in Switzerland: a cross-sectional study in Vaud County 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2012;12:285.
Background
Screening and treatment of latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) in asylum seekers (AS) may prevent future cases of tuberculosis. As the screening with Interferon Gamma Release Assay (IGRA) is costly, the objective of this study was to assess which factors were associated with LTBI and to define a score allowing the selection of AS with the highest risk of LTBI.
Methods
In across-sectional study, AS seekers recently arrived in Vaud County, after screening for tuberculosis at the border were offered screening for LTBI with T-SPOT.TB and questionnaire on potentially risk factors. The factors associated with LTBI were analyzed by univariate and multivariate regression.
Results
Among 393 adult AS, 98 (24.93%) had a positive IGRA response, five of them with active tuberculosis previously undetected. Six factors associated with LTBI were identified in multivariate analysis: origin, travel conditions, marital status, cough, age and prior TB exposure. Their combination leads to a robust LTBI predictive score.
Conclusions
The prevalence of LTBI and active tuberculosis in AS is high. A predictive score integrating six factors could identify the asylum seekers with the highest risk for LTBI.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-12-285
PMCID: PMC3551725  PMID: 23121680
Asylum seeker; Latent tuberculosis infection; Tuberculosis; Risk factors; Predictive score; Interferon gamma release assay
4.  Predictive value of readiness, importance, and confidence in ability to change drinking and smoking 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:708.
Background
Visual analog scales (VAS) are sometimes used to assess change constructs that are often considered critical for change. Aims of Study: 1.) To determine the association of readiness to change, importance of changing and confidence in ability to change alcohol and tobacco use at baseline with the risk for drinking (more than 21 drinks per week/6 drinks or more on a single occasion more than once per month) and smoking (one or more cigarettes per day) six months later. 2.) To determine the association of readiness, importance and confidence with alcohol (number of drinks/week, number of binge drinking episodes/month) and tobacco (number of cigarettes/day) use at six months.
Methods
This is a secondary analysis of data from a multi-substance brief intervention randomized trial. A sample of 461 Swiss young men was analyzed as a prospective cohort. Participants were assessed at baseline and six months later on alcohol and tobacco use, and at baseline on readiness to change, importance of changing and confidence in ability to change constructs, using visual analog scales ranging from 1–10 for drinking and smoking behaviors. Regression models controlling for receipt of brief intervention were employed for each change construct. The lowest level (1–4) of each scale was the reference group that was compared to the medium (5–7) and high (8–10) levels.
Results
Among the 377 subjects reporting unhealthy alcohol use at baseline, mean (SD) readiness, importance and confidence to change drinking scores were 3.9 (3.0), 2.7 (2.2) and 7.2 (3.0), respectively. At follow-up, 108 (29%) reported no unhealthy alcohol use. Readiness was not associated with being risk-free at follow-up, but high importance (OR 2.94; 1.15, 7.50) and high confidence (OR 2.88; 1.46, 5.68) were. Among the 255 smokers at baseline, mean readiness, importance and confidence to change smoking scores were 4.6 (2.6), 5.3 (2.6) and 5.9 (2.7), respectively. At follow-up, 13% (33) reported no longer smoking. Neither readiness nor importance was associated with being a non-smoker, whereas high confidence (OR 3.29; 1.12, 9.62) was.
Conclusions
High confidence in ability to change was associated with favorable outcomes for both drinking and smoking, whereas high importance was associated only with a favorable drinking outcome. This study points to the value of confidence as an important predictor of successful change for both drinking and smoking, and shows the value of importance in predicting successful changes in alcohol use.
Trial registration number
ISRCTN78822107
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-708
PMCID: PMC3490974  PMID: 22931392
Readiness to change; Importance of changing; Confidence in ability to change; Unhealthy alcohol use; Smoking

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