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1.  Etravirine in CSF is highly protein bound 
Objectives
Etravirine has high affinity for plasma drug-binding proteins, such as albumin and α1-acid glycoprotein, which limits the amount of unbound etravirine available to enter the CNS. The objective of this study was to compare total and unbound etravirine concentrations in CSF with plasma concentrations and the in vitro median inhibitory concentration (IC50) for wild-type HIV (0.9 ng/mL).
Methods
Total and bound etravirine concentrations were measured in 17 CSF and plasma pairs by isotope-dilution liquid chromatography tandem mass spectroscopy, radioligand displacement and ultracentrifugation. Unbound etravirine concentrations were calculated from the bound fraction. The dynamic range of the assay was 7.8–2000 (plasma) and 0.78–200 (CSF) ng/mL.
Results
Subjects were mostly middle-aged (median 43 years) white (78%) men (89%). All CSF etravirine concentrations were above the limit of quantification. Total and unbound median etravirine concentrations in CSF were 9.5 (IQR 6.4, 26.4) and 0.13 (IQR 0.08, 0.27) ng/mL, respectively. Etravirine was 96% (IQR 94.5, 97.2) protein bound in plasma and 98.4% (IQR 97.8, 98.8) in CSF. Total etravirine in CSF was 4.3% (IQR 3, 5.9) of total and 101% (IQR 76, 160) of unbound etravirine in plasma. There were no significant correlations between unbound etravirine concentrations and concentrations of albumin in plasma or CSF. Unbound etravirine concentrations in CSF did not reach the wild-type IC50 in any of the specimens.
Conclusions
Unbound etravirine may not achieve optimal concentrations to inhibit HIV replication in the CNS.
doi:10.1093/jac/dks517
PMCID: PMC3625433  PMID: 23335197
HIV; antiretroviral therapy; central nervous system; CNS; protein binding; CSF
2.  Are Time- and Event-based Prospective Memory Comparably Affected in HIV Infection?† 
According to the multi-process theory of prospective memory (ProM), time-based tasks rely more heavily on strategic processes dependent on prefrontal systems than do event-based tasks. Given the prominent frontostriatal pathophysiology of HIV infection, one would expect HIV-infected individuals to demonstrate greater deficits in time-based versus event-based ProM. However, the two prior studies examining this question have produced variable results. We evaluated this hypothesis in 143 individuals with HIV infection and 43 demographically similar seronegative adults (HIV−) who completed the research version of the Memory for Intentions Screening Test, which yields parallel subscales of time- and event-based ProM. Results showed main effects of HIV serostatus and cue type, but no interaction between serostatus and cue. Planned pair-wise comparisons showed a significant effect of HIV on time-based ProM and a trend-level effect on event-based ProM that was driven primarily by the subset of participants with HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders. Nevertheless, time-based ProM was more strongly correlated with measures of executive functions, attention/working memory, and verbal fluency in HIV-infected persons. Although HIV-associated deficits in time- and event-based ProM appear to be of comparable severity, the cognitive architecture of time-based ProM may be more strongly influenced by strategic monitoring and retrieval processes.
doi:10.1093/arclin/acr020
PMCID: PMC3081684  PMID: 21459901
AIDS dementia complex; Episodic memory; Executive functions; Neuropsychological assessment
3.  Efavirenz concentrations in CSF exceed IC50 for wild-type HIV 
Objectives
HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders remain common despite use of potent antiretroviral therapy (ART). Ongoing viral replication due to poor distribution of antivirals into the CNS may increase risk for HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders. This study's objective was to determine penetration of a commonly prescribed antiretroviral drug, efavirenz, into CSF.
Methods
CHARTER is an ongoing, North American, multicentre, observational study to determine the effects of ART on HIV-associated neurological disease. Single random plasma and CSF samples were drawn within 1 h of each other from subjects taking efavirenz between September 2003 and July 2007. Samples were assayed by HPLC or HPLC/mass spectrometry with detection limits of 39 ng/mL (plasma) and <0.1 ng/mL (CSF).
Results
Eighty participants (age 44 ± 8 years; 79 ± 15 kg; 20 females) had samples drawn 12.5 ± 5.4 h post-dose. The median efavirenz concentrations after a median of 7 months [interquartile range (IQR) 2–17] of therapy were 2145 ng/mL in plasma (IQR 1384–4423) and 13.9 ng/mL in CSF (IQR 4.1–21.2). The CSF/plasma concentration ratio from paired samples drawn within 1 h of each other was 0.005 (IQR 0.0026–0.0076; n = 69). The CSF/IC50 ratio was 26 (IQR 8–41) using the published IC50 for wild-type HIV (0.51 ng/mL). Two CSF samples had concentrations below the efavirenz IC50 for wild-type HIV.
Conclusions
Efavirenz concentrations in the CSF are only 0.5% of plasma concentrations but exceed the wild-type IC50 in nearly all individuals. Since CSF drug concentrations reflect those in brain interstitial fluids, efavirenz reaches therapeutic concentrations in brain tissue.
doi:10.1093/jac/dkq434
PMCID: PMC3019085  PMID: 21098541
CNS; pharmacology; non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors
4.  Controversies in HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders 
The Lancet. Neurology  2014;13(11):1139-1151.
Cross-sectional studies show that around half of individuals infected with HIV-1 have some degree of cognitive impairment despite the use of antiretroviral drugs. However, prevalence estimates vary depending on the population and methods used to assess cognitive impairment. Whether asymptomatic patients would benefit from routine screening for cognitive difficulties is unclear and the appropriate screening method and subsequent management is the subject of debate. In some patients, HIV-1 RNA can be found at higher concentrations in CSF than in blood, which potentially results from the poor distribution of antiretroviral drugs into the CNS. However, the clinical relevance of so-called CSF viral escape is not well understood. The extent to which antiretroviral drug distribution and toxicity in the CNS affect clinical decision making is also debated.
doi:10.1016/S1474-4422(14)70137-1
PMCID: PMC4313542  PMID: 25316020
5.  Regional areas and widths of the midsagittal corpus callosum among HIV-infected patients on stable antiretroviral therapies 
Journal of neurovirology  2011;17(4):368-379.
Recent reports suggest that a growing number of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected persons show signs of persistent cognitive impairment even in the context of combination antiretroviral therapies (cART). The basis for this finding remains poorly understood as there are only a limited number of studies examining the relationship between CNS injury, measures of disease severity, and cognitive function in the setting of stable disease. This study examined the effects of HIV infection on cerebral white matter using quantitative morphometry of the midsagittal corpus callosum (CC) in 216 chronically infected participants from the multisite HIV Neuroimaging Consortium study currently receiving cART and 139 controls. All participants underwent MRI assessment, and HIV-infected subjects also underwent measures of cognitive function and disease severity. The midsagittal slice of the CC was quantified using two semi-automated procedures. Group comparisons were accomplished using ANOVA, and the relationship between CC morphometry and clinical covariates (current CD4, nadir CD4, plasma and CSF HIV RNA, duration of HIV infection, age, and ADC stage) was assessed using linear regression models. HIV-infected patients showed significant reductions in both the area and linear widths for several regions of the CC. Significant relationships were found with ADC stage and nadir CD4 cell count, but no other clinical variables. Despite effective treatment, significant and possibly irreversible structural loss of the white matter persists in the setting of chronic HIV disease. A history of advanced immune suppression is a strong predictor of this complication and suggests that antiretroviral intervention at earlier stages of infection may be warranted.
doi:10.1007/s13365-011-0033-6
PMCID: PMC4309645  PMID: 21556960
HIV; Corpus callosum; Nadir CD4; White matter; CART
6.  Apathy is associated with white matter abnormalities in anterior, medial brain regions in persons with HIV infection 
Apathy is a relatively common psychiatric syndrome in HIV infection, but little is known about its neural correlates. In the present study, we examined the associations between apathy and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) indices in key frontal white matter regions in the thalamocorticostriatal circuit that has been implicated in the expression of apathy. Nineteen participants with HIV infection and 19 demographically comparable seronegative comparison subjects completed the Apathy subscale of the Frontal Systems Behavioral Scale as a part of a comprehensive neuropsychiatric research evaluation. When compared to the seronegative participants, the HIV+ group had significantly more frontal white matter abnormalities. Within HIV+ persons, and as predicted, higher ratings of apathy were associated with greater white matter alterations in the anterior corona radiata, genu, and orbital medial prefrontal cortex. The associations between white matter alterations and apathy were independent of depression and were stronger among participants with lower current CD4 counts. All told, these findings indicate that apathy is independently associated with white matter abnormalities in anterior, medial brain regions in persons infected with HIV, particularly in the setting of lower current immune functioning, which may have implications for antiretroviral therapy.
doi:10.1080/13803395.2014.950636
PMCID: PMC4303236  PMID: 25275424
Diffusion tensor imaging; apathy; HIV/AIDS; Prefrontal cortex; depression
7.  Real-World Impact of Neurocognitive Deficits in Acute and Early HIV Infection 
Journal of neurovirology  2013;19(6):10.1007/s13365-013-0218-2.
The acute and early period of HIV-1 infection (AEH) is characterized by neuroinflammatory and immunopathogenic processes that can alter the integrity of neural systems and neurocognitive functions. However, the extent to which central nervous system changes in AEH confer increased risk of real-world functioning (RWF) problems is not known. In the present study, 34 individuals with AEH and 39 seronegative comparison participants completed standardized neuromedical, psychiatric, and neurocognitive research evaluations, alongside a comprehensive assessment of RWF that included cognitive symptoms in daily life, basic and instrumental activities of daily living, clinician-rated global functioning, and employment. Results showed that AEH was associated with a significantly increased risk of dependence in RWF, which was particularly elevated among AEH persons with global neurocognitive impairment (NCI). Among those with AEH, NCI (i.e., deficits in learning and information processing speed), mood disorders (i.e., Bipolar Disorder), and substance dependence (e.g., methamphetamine dependence) were all independently predictive of RWF dependence. Findings suggest that neurocognitively impaired individuals with AEH are at notably elevated risk of clinically significant challenges in normal daily functioning. Screening for neurocognitive, mood, and substance use disorders in AEH may facilitate identification of individuals at high risk of functional dependence who may benefit from psychological and medical strategies to manage their neuropsychiatric conditions.
doi:10.1007/s13365-013-0218-2
PMCID: PMC3865175  PMID: 24277439
Infectious disease; Disability; Substance use; Neuropsychology; AIDS-related Dementia
8.  A CONCISE PANEL OF BIOMARKERS IDENTIFIES NEUROCOGNITIVE FUNCTIONING CHANGES IN HIV-INFECTED INDIVIDUALS 
Background
Neurocognitive (NC) impairment (NCI) occurs commonly in people living with HIV. Despite substantial effort, no biomarkers have been sufficiently validated for diagnosis and prognosis of NCI in the clinic. The goal of this project was to identify diagnostic or prognostic biomarkers for NCI in a comprehensively characterized HIV cohort.
Methods
Multidisciplinary case review selected 98 HIV-infected individuals and categorized them into four NC groups using normative data: stably normal (SN), stably impaired (SI), worsening (Wo), or improving (Im). All subjects underwent comprehensive NC testing, phlebotomy, and lumbar puncture at two timepoints separated by a median of 6.2 months. Eight biomarkers were measured in CSF and blood by immunoassay. Results were analyzed using mixed model linear regression and staged recursive partitioning.
Results
At the first visit, subjects were mostly middle-aged (median 45) white (58%) men (84%) who had AIDS (70%). Of the 73% who took antiretroviral therapy (ART), 54% had HIV RNA levels below 50 c/mL in plasma. Mixed model linear regression identified that only MCP-1 in CSF was associated with neurocognitive change group. Recursive partitioning models aimed at diagnosis (i.e., correctly classifying neurocognitive status at the first visit) were complex and required most biomarkers to achieve misclassification limits. In contrast, prognostic models were more efficient. A combination of three biomarkers (sCD14, MCP-1, SDF-1α) correctly classified 82% of Wo and SN subjects, including 88% of SN subjects. A combination of two biomarkers (MCP-1, TNF-α) correctly classified 81% of Im and SI subjects, including 100% of SI subjects.
Conclusions
This analysis of well-characterized individuals identified concise panels of biomarkers associated with NC change. Across all analyses, the two most frequently identified biomarkers were sCD14 and MCP-1, indicators of monocyte/macrophage activation. While the panels differed depending on the outcome and on the degree of misclassification, nearly all stable patients were correctly classified.
doi:10.1007/s11481-013-9504-2
PMCID: PMC3874146  PMID: 24101401
HIV; Neurocognitive Disorders; Cerebrospinal Fluid; Biomarkers
9.  Alterations in the levels of vesicular trafficking proteins involved in HIV replication in the brains and CSF of patients with HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders 
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) remain prevalent despite improved antiretroviral therapies. A HAND-specific biomarker indicative of neuropsychological impairment (NPI) would give insight into disease progression and aid clinicians in designing therapy. Endosomal sorting complex required for transport (ESCRT) proteins such as tumor susceptibility gene (TSG)-101, vacuolar protein sorting (VPS)-4 and LIP-5 are important for HIV replication and recently antiviral interferon stimulated gene (ISG)-15 was proposed as a biomarker for CNS injury. Here, we analyzed a well-characterized cohort of HIV+ cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) and postmortem brain specimens for multiple vesicular trafficking proteins and a related innate immune protein, ISG-15, TSG-101, VPS-4 and LIP-5. All protein levels trended higher with increased NPI and neuropathology. ISG-15 CSF levels were increased in HIV encephalitis (HIVE) compared to normal cases, and three quarters of HIVE samples had above average CSF ISG-15 levels. VPS-4 CSF levels were increased in NPI/NPI-O compared to normal patients. VPS-4 CSF levels in HIV-associated dementia were equivalent to that of normal patients. LIP-5 CSF levels positively correlate with ISG-15 levels, and higher than average ISG-15 levels indicate elevated viral load. Immunoblot and immunohistochemical analyses show increased expression of ISG-15, VPS-4 and LIP-5 in neuronal cell bodies and astroglial cells. ESCRT protein CSF levels analyzed in conjunction with viral load may be indicative of NPI stage, and may aid in the diagnosis and design of therapies for HIV patients. Further studies on the ESCRT protein expression during HIV infection may lead to a promising biomarker for predicting progression of NPI.
doi:10.1007/s11481-013-9511-3
PMCID: PMC3973444  PMID: 24292993
HIV; biomarker; ESCRT; ISG-15; VPS-4; LIP-5
10.  A lipid storage–like disorder contributes to cognitive decline in HIV-infected subjects 
Neurology  2013;81(17):1492-1499.
Objective:
In this multicenter cohort study, we sought to identify prognostic and associative metabolic indicators for HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND).
Methods:
A quantitative lipidomic analysis was conducted on 524 longitudinal CSF samples collected from 7 different performance sites across the mainland United States, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. Subjects included HIV-infected individuals with longitudinal clinical and cognitive testing data and cognitively normal HIV-negative healthy controls.
Results:
At baseline, HIV+ subjects could be differentiated from HIV− controls by reductions in a single ceramide species and increases in multiple forms of cholesterol. Perturbations in cholesterol metabolism and ceramide were influenced by combined antiretroviral therapy (cART) use. There were no cross-sectional baseline differences in any lipid metabolite when HIV+ subjects were grouped according to cognitive status. However, a single sphingolipid metabolite and reduced levels of esterified cholesterols were prognostic indicators of incident cognitive decline. Longitudinal patterns of these disturbances in sphingolipid and sterol metabolism suggest that a progressive disorder of lipid metabolism that is similar to disorders of lipid storage may contribute to the pathogenesis of HAND.
Conclusions:
These findings suggest that HIV infection and cART are independently associated with a CNS metabolic disturbance, identify surrogate markers that are prognostic for cognitive decline, and implicate a lipid storage–like disorder in the progression of HAND.
doi:10.1212/WNL.0b013e3182a9565e
PMCID: PMC3888167  PMID: 24027056
11.  Dual-mixed HIV-1 Coreceptor Tropism and HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Deficits 
Journal of neurovirology  2013;19(5):488-494.
Background
HIV coreceptor usage of CXCR4 (X4) is associated with decreased CD4+ T-cell counts and accelerated disease progression, but the role of X4 tropism in HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) has not previously been described.
Methods
This longitudinal study evaluated data on 197 visits from 72 recently HIV-infected persons who had undergone up to 4 sequential neurocognitive assessments over a median of 160 days (IQR 138–192). Phenotypic tropism testing (Trofile ES, Monogram, Biosciences) was performed on stored blood samples. Multivariable mixed model repeated measures regression was used to determine the association between HAND and dual-mixed (DM) viral tropism, estimated duration of infection (EDI), HIV RNA, CD4 count and problematic methamphetamine use.
Results
Six subjects (8.3%) had dual mixed tropism (DM) at their first neurocognitive assessment and four converted to DM in subsequent sampling (for total of 10 DM) at a median EDI of 10.1 months (IQR 7.2–12.2). There were 44 (61.1%) subjects who demonstrated HAND on at least one study visit. HAND was associated with DM tropism (odds ratio 4.4, 95% CI 0.9–20.5) and shorter EDI (odds ratio 1.1 per month earlier, 95% CI 1.0–1.2).
Conclusion
This study found that recency of HIV-1 infection and the development of DM tropism may be associated with HAND in the relatively early stage of infection. Together these data suggest that viral interaction with cellular receptors may play an important role in the early manifestation of HAND.
doi:10.1007/s13365-013-0203-9
PMCID: PMC3921071  PMID: 24078557
HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders; coreceptor tropism; methamphetamine
12.  Genetic Variation in Iron Metabolism Is Associated with Neuropathic Pain and Pain Severity in HIV-Infected Patients on Antiretroviral Therapy 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e103123.
HIV sensory neuropathy and distal neuropathic pain (DNP) are common, disabling complications associated with combination antiretroviral therapy (cART). We previously associated iron-regulatory genetic polymorphisms with a reduced risk of HIV sensory neuropathy during more neurotoxic types of cART. We here evaluated the impact of polymorphisms in 19 iron-regulatory genes on DNP in 560 HIV-infected subjects from a prospective, observational study, who underwent neurological examinations to ascertain peripheral neuropathy and structured interviews to ascertain DNP. Genotype-DNP associations were explored by logistic regression and permutation-based analytical methods. Among 559 evaluable subjects, 331 (59%) developed HIV-SN, and 168 (30%) reported DNP. Fifteen polymorphisms in 8 genes (p<0.05) and 5 variants in 4 genes (p<0.01) were nominally associated with DNP: polymorphisms in TF, TFRC, BMP6, ACO1, SLC11A2, and FXN conferred reduced risk (adjusted odds ratios [ORs] ranging from 0.2 to 0.7, all p<0.05); other variants in TF, CP, ACO1, BMP6, and B2M conferred increased risk (ORs ranging from 1.3 to 3.1, all p<0.05). Risks associated with some variants were statistically significant either in black or white subgroups but were consistent in direction. ACO1 rs2026739 remained significantly associated with DNP in whites (permutation p<0.0001) after correction for multiple tests. Several of the same iron-regulatory-gene polymorphisms, including ACO1 rs2026739, were also associated with severity of DNP (all p<0.05). Common polymorphisms in iron-management genes are associated with DNP and with DNP severity in HIV-infected persons receiving cART. Consistent risk estimates across population subgroups and persistence of the ACO1 rs2026739 association after adjustment for multiple testing suggest that genetic variation in iron-regulation and transport modulates susceptibility to DNP.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0103123
PMCID: PMC4140681  PMID: 25144566
13.  Increases in brain white matter abnormalities and subcortical gray matter are linked to CD4 recovery in HIV infection 
Journal of neurovirology  2013;19(4):393-401.
MRI alterations in the cerebral white (WM) and gray matter (GM) are common in HIV infection, even during successful combination antiretroviral therapy (CART), and their pathophysiology and clinical significance are unclear. We evaluated the association of these alterations with recovery of CD4+ T-cells. Seventy-five HIV-infected (HIV+) volunteers in the CNS HIV Anti-Retroviral Therapy Effects Research (CHARTER) study underwent brain MRI at two visits. Multi-channel morphometry yielded volumes of total cerebral WM, abnormal WM, cortical and subcortical GM, and ventricular and sulcal CSF. Multivariable linear regressions were used to predict volumetric changes with change in current CD4 and detectable HIV RNA. On average, the cohort (79% initially on CART) demonstrated loss of total cerebral WM alongside increases in abnormal WM and ventricular volumes. A greater extent of CD4 recovery was associated with increases in abnormal WM and subcortical GM volumes. Virologic suppression was associated with increased subcortical GM volume, independent of CD4 recovery. These findings suggest a possible link between brain alterations and immune recovery, distinct from the influence of virologic suppression. The association of increasing abnormal WM and subcortical GM volumes with CD4+ T-cell recovery suggests that neuroinflammation may be one mechanism in CNS pathogenesis.
doi:10.1007/s13365-013-0185-7
PMCID: PMC3776609  PMID: 23838849
Antiretroviral therapy; brain; CD4+ T-cell; immune recovery/reconstitution; inflammation; MRI
14.  Epigenetic Alterations in the Brain Associated with HIV-1 Infection and Methamphetamine Dependence 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e102555.
HIV involvement of the CNS continues to be a significant problem despite successful use of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART). Drugs of abuse can act in concert with HIV proteins to damage glia and neurons, worsening the neurotoxicity caused by HIV alone. Methamphetamine (METH) is a highly addictive psychostimulant drug, abuse of which has reached epidemic proportions and is associated with high-risk sexual behavior, increased HIV transmission, and development of drug resistance. HIV infection and METH dependence can have synergistic pathological effects, with preferential involvement of frontostriatal circuits. At the molecular level, epigenetic alterations have been reported for both HIV-1 infection and drug abuse, but the neuropathological pathways triggered by their combined effects are less known. We investigated epigenetic changes in the brain associated with HIV and METH. We analyzed postmortem frontal cortex tissue from 27 HIV seropositive individuals, 13 of which had a history of METH dependence, in comparison to 14 cases who never used METH. We detected changes in the expression of DNMT1, at mRNA and protein levels, that resulted in the increase of global DNA methylation. Genome-wide profiling of DNA methylation in a subset of cases, showed differential methylation on genes related to neurodegeneration; dopamine metabolism and transport; and oxidative phosphorylation. We provide evidence for the synergy of HIV and METH dependence on the patterns of DNA methylation on the host brain, which results in a distinctive landscape for the comorbid condition. Importantly, we identified new epigenetic targets that might aid in understanding the aggravated neurodegenerative, cognitive, motor and behavioral symptoms observed in persons living with HIV and addictions.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0102555
PMCID: PMC4108358  PMID: 25054922
15.  Cytokine secretion from brain macrophages infected with human immunodeficiency virus in vitro and treated with raltegravir 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2014;14:386.
Background
Integrase inhibitors are a promising class of antiretroviral drugs to treat chronic human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. During HIV infection, macrophages can extravasate from the blood to the brain, while producing chemotaxic proteins and cytokines, which have detrimental effects on central nervous system cells. The main goal of this study was to understand the effects of raltegravir (RAL) on human brain macrophage production of immune-mediators when infected with HIV, but did not compare with other antiretroviral agents.
Methods
Pro-inflammatory cytokines, IFN-γ, IL-10, IL-12-p70, IL-1, IL-8, TNF-α, and IL-6 were measured simultaneously in tissue culture supernatants from primary brain derived macrophages, microglia. We tested the effects of RAL on markers of astrocytosis and neurite integrity in primary human neuroglial cultures.
Results
RAL administered at 20 nM effectively suppressed HIV infection in microglia over 9 days. Only IL-8, IL-10, and TNF-α were above the detection limit in the majority of samples and RAL significantly suppressed the rate of cytokine production in HIV-infected microglia. During RAL-alone, the rate of IL-8 secretion was higher.
Conclusions
RAL did not affect neurite area but inhibited astrocyte growth in the neuroglial cultures. Exploring the effects of RAL on pro-inflammatory molecule production in brain macrophages may contribute to designing ARV neuroprotective strategies in chronic HIV infection.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-14-386
PMCID: PMC4227040  PMID: 25015002
Microglia; Human immunodeficiency virus; Integrase inhibitor; Raltegravir; IL-10; IL-8; TNF-α
16.  ING116070: A Study of the Pharmacokinetics and Antiviral Activity of Dolutegravir in Cerebrospinal Fluid in HIV-1–Infected, Antiretroviral Therapy–Naive Subjects 
Median dolutegravir concentrations in cerebrospinal fluid were similar to unbound concentrations in plasma and all subjects exceeded the in vitro 50% inhibitory concentration for wild-type viruses (0.2 ng/mL) by ≥66-fold, suggesting therapeutic concentrations are achieved in cerebrospinal fluid..
Background. Dolutegravir (DTG), a once-daily, human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) integrase inhibitor, was evaluated for distribution and antiviral activity in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).
Methods. ING116070 is an ongoing, single-arm, open-label, multicenter study in antiretroviral therapy–naive, HIV-1–infected adults. Subjects received DTG (50 mg) plus abacavir/lamivudine (600/300 mg) once daily. The CSF and plasma (total and unbound) DTG concentrations were measured at weeks 2 and 16. The HIV-1 RNA levels were measured in CSF at baseline and weeks 2 and 16 and in plasma at baseline and weeks 2, 4, 8, 12, and 16.
Results. Thirteen white men enrolled in the study; 2 withdrew prematurely, 1 because of a non–drug-related serious adverse event (pharyngitis) and 1 because of lack of treatment efficacy. The median DTG concentrations in CSF were 18 ng/mL (range, 4–23 ng/mL) at week 2 and 13 ng/mL (4–18 ng/mL) at week 16. Ratios of DTG CSF to total plasma concentration were similar to the unbound fraction of DTG in plasma. Median changes from baseline in CSF (n = 11) and plasma (n = 12) HIV-1 RNA were −3.42 and −3.04 log10 copies/mL, respectively. Nine of 11 subjects (82%) had plasma and CSF HIV-1 RNA levels <50 copies/mL and 10 of 11 (91%) had CSF HIV-1 RNA levels <2 copies/mL at week 16.
Conclusions. The DTG concentrations in CSF were similar to unbound plasma concentrations and exceeded the in vitro 50% inhibitory concentration for wild-type HIV (0.2 ng/mL), suggesting that DTG achieves therapeutic concentrations in the central nervous system. The HIV-1 RNA reductions were similar in CSF and plasma.
Clinical Trials Registration. NCT01499199.
doi:10.1093/cid/ciu477
PMCID: PMC4166983  PMID: 24944232
cerebrospinal fluid; dolutegravir; HIV
17.  Elevated sCD163 in plasma but not cerebrospinal fluid is a marker of neurocognitive impairment in HIV infection 
AIDS (London, England)  2013;27(9):10.1097/QAD.0b013e32836010bd.
Objective
Here we evaluated whether neurocognitive disorders in HIV-infected individuals on effective antiretroviral therapy (ART) are associated with persistent monocyte activation as indexed by levels of soluble CD163 (sCD163), shed by monocyte/macrophages.
Design
Chronically, HIV-infected individuals were examined at two consecutive visits median [interquartile range (IQR)] 16 (7–32) months apart. All patients were on ART and durably virologically suppressed (plasma HIV RNA <50 copies/ml) at all visits. Thirty-four age-matched HIV-seronegative patients were used as controls.
Methods
A global deficit score (GDS) was calculated based on comprehensive neuropsychological assessment according to standard methods. Neuropsychological and medical data were used to assign neurocognitive status according to published guidelines for HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) as follows: neuropsychologically normal (NP-nml), asymptomatic neuropsychological impairment (ANI) and minor neurocognitive disorder (MND). sCD163 in plasma and cerebrospinal fluid was measured using ELISA.
Results
GDS-impaired patients had higher plasma sCD163 than those who were not impaired [median (IQR) 1401 ng/ml (1057–2258) versus 955 ng/ml (586–1313); Wilcoxon P = 0.028]. Patients with MND (N = 6) had significantly higher plasma sCD163 than ANI (P = 0.04) or NP-nml (P = 0.02). Whereas plasma sCD163 levels dropped in patients who were stably GDS-unimpaired after the first visit (P < 0.032), levels remained elevated in those who remained GDS-impaired (P = 0.50).
Interpretation
These findings are consistent with persistent monocyte/macrophage activation in neurophysiologically impaired HIV-infected individuals despite virally suppressive ART. Overall, these observations underscore the significance of monocyte/macrophage immune responses in HIV, persistent monocyte activation in HAND and the value of sCD163, as a plasma marker of neurocognitive impairment.
doi:10.1097/QAD.0b013e32836010bd
PMCID: PMC3844286  PMID: 23435298
antiretroviral therapy; biomarker; CD163 protein; cellular immunity; macrophages; neuropsychological; plasma
18.  Evidence of the Innate Antiviral and Neuroprotective Properties of Progranulin 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e98184.
Background
Compelling data exist that show that normal levels of progranulin (PGRN) are required for successful CNS aging. PGRN production is also modulated by inflammation and infection, but no data are available on the production and role of PGRN during CNS HIV infection.
Methods
To determine the relationships between PGRN and HIV disease, neurocognition, and inflammation, we analyzed 107 matched CSF and plasma samples from CHARTER, a well-characterized HIV cohort. Levels of PGRN were determined by ELISA and compared to levels of several inflammatory mediators (IFNγ, IL-6, IL-10, IP-10, MCP-1, TNFα, IL-1β, IL-4 and IL-13), as well as clinical, virologic and demographic parameters. The relationship between HIV infection and PGRN was also examined in HIV-infected primary human microglial cultures.
Results
In plasma, PGRN levels correlated with the viral load (VL, p<0.001). In the CSF of subjects with undetectable VL, lower PGRN was associated with neurocognitive impairment (p = 0.046). CSF PGRN correlated with CSF IP-10, TNFα and IL-10, and plasma PGRN correlated with plasma IP-10. In vitro, microglial HIV infection increased PGRN production and PGRN knockdown increased HIV replication, demonstrating that PGRN is an innate antiviral protein.
Conclusions
We propose that PGRN plays dual roles in people living with HIV disease. With active HIV replication, PGRN is induced in infected macrophages and microglia and functions as an antiviral protein. In individuals without active viral replication, decreased PGRN production contributes to neurocognitive dysfunction, probably through a diminution of its neurotrophic functions. Our results have implications for the pathogenesis, biomarker studies and therapy for HIV diseases including HIV-associated neurocognitive dysfunction (HAND).
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0098184
PMCID: PMC4039467  PMID: 24878635
19.  Visual Function Assessment in Simulated Real-Life Situations in HIV-Infected Subjects 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e97023.
Visual function abnormalities are common in people living with HIV disease (PLWH) without retinitis, even after improvement in immune status. Abnormalities such as reduced contrast sensitivity, altered color vision, peripheral visual field loss, and electrophysiological changes are related to a combination of retinal dysfunctions, involving inner and outer retinal structures. The standard protocol for testing vision performance in clinical practice is the Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study (ETDRS) chart. However, this method poorly correlates with activities of daily living that require patients to assess visual stimuli in multiple light/contrast conditions, and with limited time. We utilized a novel interactive computer program (Central Vision Analyzer) to analyze vision performance in PLWH under a variety of light/contrast conditions that simulate stressful and real-world environments. The program tests vision in a time-dependent way that we believe better correlates with daily living activities than the non-timed ETDRS chart. We also aimed to correlate visual scores with retinal neuro-fiber layer thickness on optical coherence tomography. Here we show that visual acuity is more affected in PLWH in comparison to HIV-seronegative controls in varying contrast and luminance, especially if the nadir CD4+ T-cell count was lower than 100 cells/mm3. Visual impairment reflects the loss of retinal nerve fiber layer thickness especially of the temporal-inferior sector. In PLWH the ETDRS chart test led to better visual acuity compared to the Central Vision Analyzer equivalent test, likely because patients had indefinite time to guess the letters. This study confirms and strengthens the finding that visual function is affected in PLWH even in absence of retinitis, since we found that the HIV serostatus is the best predictor of visual loss. The Central Vision Analyzer may be useful in the diagnosis of subclinical HIV-associated visual loss in multiple light/contrast conditions, and may offer better understanding of this entity called “neuroretinal disorder”.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0097023
PMCID: PMC4014600  PMID: 24809827
20.  Risks and predictors of current suicidality in HIV-infected heroin users in treatment in Yunnan, China: A controlled study 
Objective
Suicide is an important public health problem in China. Elsewhere injection drug use and HIV infection have independently been associated with suicidality, but research has often overlooked these high-risk groups in China. We determined the frequency and predictors of suicidal ideas in Chinese, HIV-infected (HIV+) and uninfected (HIV-) heroin injection drug users in treatment (IDUs) and a control sample. We hypothesized that rates of suicidal ideas would be significantly higher among IDUs compared to controls, and highest among HIV+ IDUs.
Method
We assessed suicidal ideas within the past two weeks in HIV+ (N = 204) and HIV- (N = 202) heroin IDUs in methadone treatment in Yunnan, a province at the intersection of the heroin and HIV epidemics, and in demographically matched, uninfected non-drug using controls (N = 201).
Results
Rates of suicidality were higher in IDUs than controls but there was no additive effect of HIV infection (HIV+ IDU 43.1%; HIV- IDU 37.1%; controls 8.5%). Among HIV+ IDUs suicidality was associated most strongly with a combination of prior history of major depression, low perceived social support, and experience of HIV-relevant stress, but not with AIDS diagnosis. Among HIV- IDUs suicidality was associated with prior history of major depressive or alcohol use disorder. Less than 25% of IDUs with suicidality had histories of mood or alcohol use diagnoses.
Conclusion
Because suicidal ideation is frequent in IDUs in China, regardless of HIV status, and is not fully accounted for by past psychiatric history, additional research may be warranted.
doi:10.1097/QAI.0b013e31827ce513
PMCID: PMC3975910  PMID: 23196829
IV drug use; HIV; Depression; Suicide; China
21.  Assessment, Diagnosis, and Treatment of HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorder: A Consensus Report of the Mind Exchange Program 
Based on evidence from a literature search and consensus expert opinion, the Mind Exchange program provides practical guidance in the diagnosis, ongoing monitoring, and treatment of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder that is of direct relevance to daily practice.
Many practical clinical questions regarding the management of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–associated neurocognitive disorder (HAND) remain unanswered. We sought to identify and develop practical answers to key clinical questions in HAND management. Sixty-six specialists from 30 countries provided input into the program, which was overseen by a steering committee. Fourteen questions were rated as being of greatest clinical importance. Answers were drafted by an expert group based on a comprehensive literature review. Sixty-three experts convened to determine consensus and level of evidence for the answers. Consensus was reached on all answers. For instance, good practice suggests that all HIV patients should be screened for HAND early in disease using standardized tools. Follow-up frequency depends on whether HAND is already present or whether clinical data suggest risk for developing HAND. Worsening neurocognitive impairment may trigger consideration of antiretroviral modification when other causes have been excluded. The Mind Exchange program provides practical guidance in the diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment of HAND.
doi:10.1093/cid/cis975
PMCID: PMC3657494  PMID: 23175555
AIDS dementia complex; HIV-associated dementia (HAD); HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder (HAND); HIV encephalopathy; neurocognitive impairment
22.  Determination of Efavirenz in Human Dried Blood Spots by Reversed-Phase High Performance Liquid Chromatography with UV Detection 
Therapeutic drug monitoring  2013;35(2):10.1097/FTD.0b013e31827fb72b.
Background
Previously published methods for determination of efavirenz (EFV) in human dried blood spots (DBS) employ costly and complex liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry. We describe the validation and evaluation of a simple and inexpensive high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) method for EFV quantification in human DBS and dried plasma spots (DPS), using ultraviolet (UV) detection appropriate for resource-limited settings.
Methods
100μl of heparinized whole blood or plasma were spotted onto blood collection cards, dried, punched, and eluted. Eluates are injected onto a C-18 reversed phase HPLC column. EFV is separated isocratically using a potassium phosphate and ACN mobile phase. UV detection is at 245nm. Quantitation is by use of external calibration standards. Following validation, the method was evaluated using whole blood and plasma from HIV-positive patients undergoing EFV therapy.
Results
Mean recovery of drug from dried blood spots is 91.5%. The method is linear over the validated concentration range of 0.3125 – 20.0μg/mL. A good correlation (Spearman r=0.96) between paired plasma and DBS EFV concentrations from the clinical samples was observed, and hematocrit level was not found to be a significant determinant of the EFV DBS level. The mean observed CDBS/Cplasma ratio was 0.68. A good correlation (Spearman r=0.96) between paired plasma and DPS EFV concentrations from the clinical samples was observed. The mean percent deviation of DPS samples from plasma samples is 1.68%.
Conclusions
Dried whole blood spot or dried plasma spot sampling is well suited for monitoring EFV therapy in resource limited settings, particularly when high sensitivity is not essential.
doi:10.1097/FTD.0b013e31827fb72b
PMCID: PMC3848783  PMID: 23503446
Efavirenz; Dried Blood Spots; Dried Plasma Spots; HPLC
23.  Darunavir is predominantly unbound to protein in cerebrospinal fluid and concentrations exceed the wild-type HIV-1 median 90% inhibitory concentration 
Objectives
Higher CSF antiretroviral concentrations may be associated with better control of HIV replication and neurocognitive performance, but only the unbound fraction of antiretrovirals is available to inhibit HIV. Therefore, the objective of this study was to determine total and unbound darunavir concentrations in CSF and compare findings with plasma concentrations as well as the wild-type HIV-1 90% inhibitory concentration (IC90).
Methods
Subjects with HIV infection were selected based on the use of darunavir-containing regimens with a twice-daily dosing schedule and availability of stored CSF and matched plasma. Total darunavir was measured by HPLC for plasma or liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectroscopy (LC/MS/MS) for CSF. Plasma unbound darunavir was measured by ultrafiltration and LC/MS/MS. CSF protein binding was determined by competitive binding exchange with radiolabelled darunavir.
Results
Twenty-nine matched CSF–plasma pairs were analysed and darunavir was detected in all CSF specimens (median total concentration 55.8 ng/mL), with a CSF unbound fraction of 93.5%. Median fractional penetrance was 1.4% of median total and 9.4% of median unbound plasma concentrations. Unbound darunavir concentrations in CSF exceeded the median IC90 for wild-type HIV in all subjects by a median of 20.6-fold, despite the relatively low fractional penetrance. Total darunavir concentrations in CSF correlated with both total and unbound darunavir concentrations in plasma.
Conclusions
Darunavir should contribute to the control of HIV replication in the CNS as a component of effective combination antiretroviral regimens.
doi:10.1093/jac/dks441
PMCID: PMC3566670  PMID: 23143899
HIV; antiretroviral therapy; central nervous system; protein binding
24.  Neurotoxic effects of the HCV core protein are mediated by sustained activation of ERK via TLR2 signaling 
Journal of neurovirology  2011;17(4):327-340.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a serious problem among those co-infected with human immunodeficiency virus; however, its impact in the central nervous system (CNS) remains unclear. This study aimed to investigate the mechanisms underlying HCV core protein-mediated neurodegeneration. Analysis of human HCV seropositive cases demonstrated widespread damage to neuronal dendritic processes and sustained activation of extracellular signal-related kinase (ERK); analogous pathologies were observed in wild type injected with HCV core protein into the hippocampus. In vitro analysis in neuronal cells exposed to HCV core demonstrated retraction of the neuronal processes in an ERK/Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription 3 (STAT3)-dependent manner dependent on toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) signaling activation. These results indicate that HCV core protein neurotoxicity may be mediated by the sustained activation of ERK/STAT3 via TLR2-IRAK1 signaling pathway. These pathways provide novel targets for development of neuroprotective treatments for HCV involvement of the CNS.
doi:10.1007/s13365-011-0039-0
PMCID: PMC3919659  PMID: 21660601
HCV; TLR2; Neurodegeneration; ERK
25.  Substance Use is a Risk Factor for Neurocognitive Deficits and Neuropsychiatric Distress in Acute and Early HIV Infection 
Journal of neurovirology  2012;19(1):65-74.
The acute and early stages of HIV infection (AEH) are characterized by substantial viral replication, immune activation, and alterations in brain metabolism. However, little is known about the prevalence and predictors of neurocognitive deficits and neuropsychiatric disturbances during this period. The present study examined the impact of demographic, HIV disease, and substance use factors on HIV-associated neurocognitive impairment and self-reported neuropsychiatric distress among 46 antiretroviral-naïve adults with median duration of infection of 75 days, relative to sample a of 21 HIV seronegative (HIV-) adults with comparable demographics and risk factors. Participants were administered a brief neurocognitive battery that was adjusted for demographics and assessed executive functions, memory, psychomotor speed, and verbal fluency, as well as the Profile of Mood States (POMS), a self-report measure of neuropsychiatric distress. Odds ratios revealed that AEH participants were nearly four times more likely than their seronegative counterparts to experience neurocognitive impairment, particularly in the areas of learning and information processing speed. Similarly, AEH was associated with a nearly five-fold increase in the odds of neuropsychiatric distress, most notably in anxiety and depression. Within the AEH sample, HIV-associated neurocognitive impairment was associated with problematic methamphetamine use and higher plasma HIV RNA levels, whereas neuropsychiatric distress was solely associated with high-risk alcohol use. Extending prior neuroimaging findings, results from this study indicate that HIV-associated neurocognitive impairment and neuropsychiatric distress are highly prevalent during AEH and are associated with high-risk substance use.
doi:10.1007/s13365-012-0141-y
PMCID: PMC3568179  PMID: 23250704
HIV; substance abuse; viral load; neuropsychiatry; AIDS dementia complex

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