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1.  CSF Biomarkers of Monocyte Activation and Chemotaxis correlate with Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy Metabolites during Chronic HIV Disease 
Journal of neurovirology  2015;21(5):559-567.
HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) persist despite combination antiretroviral therapy (cART), supporting the need to better understand HIV neuropathogenesis. Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) of the brain has demonstrated abnormalities in HIV-infected individuals despite cART. We examined the associations between MRS metabolites and selected cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers reflecting monocyte/macrophage activation and chemotaxis.
A multicenter cross-sectional study involving five sites in the United States was conducted. The following CSF biomarkers were measured: soluble CD14 (sCD14), monocyte chemotactic protein 1 (MCP-1), interferon inducible protein 10 (IP-10), and stromal cell derived growth factor 1 alpha (SDF-1α). The following MRS metabolites were measured from basal ganglia (BG), frontal white matter (FWM) and frontal gray matter (FGM): N-acetyl-aspartate (NAA), Myo-inositol (MI), Choline (Cho), and Creatine (Cr). CSF biomarkers were compared to absolute MRS metabolites as well as metabolite/Cr ratios using linear regression.
83 HIV-infected individuals were included, 78% on cART and 37% with HAND. The most robust positive correlations were between MCP-1 and Cho in BG (R2 0.179, p<0.001) as well as MCP-1 and MI in FWM (R2 0.137, p=0.002). Higher Cr levels in FWM were associated with MCP-1 (R2 0. 075, p=0.01) and IP-10 (R2 0.106, p=0.003). Comparing biomarkers to MRS metabolite/Cr ratios impacted some relationships, e.g., higher sCD14 levels were associated with lower Cho/Cr ratios in FGM (R2 0.224, p<0.001), although higher MCP-1 levels remained associated with Cho/Cr in BG.
These findings provide evidence that monocyte activation and chemotaxis continue to contribute to HIV-associated brain abnormalities in cART-treated individuals.
PMCID: PMC5008689  PMID: 26069183
2.  Plasma and cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers predict cerebral injury in HIV-infected individuals on stable combination antiretroviral therapy 
HIV-associated brain injury persists despite antiretroviral therapy (cART), but contributing factors remain poorly understood. We postulated that inflammation-associated biomarkers will be associated with cerebral injury on proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) in chronically HIV-infected subjects.
Five biomarkers were measured in 197 HIV-infected subjects: soluble CD14, MCP-1, IP-10, MIP-1β, and fractalkine. Levels of N-acetyl aspartate (NAA), Choline (Cho), Myoinositol (MI), Glutamate+Glutamine (Glx), and Creatine (Cr) were acquired in the midfrontal cortex (MFC), frontal white matter (FWM), and basal ganglia (BG). Predictive models were built via linear regression and the best models were chosen using the Akaike Information Criterion.
Increases in plasma or CSF MCP-1 were associated with lower NAA/Cr in the MFC and BG while metabolite changes in the FWM for NAA/Cr, GlxCr and Cho/Cr were explained almost exclusively by a single factor, sCD14. Plasma and CSF levels of this factor were also significantly associated with Glx/Cr in MFC and BG. Higher CSF FKN was associated with higher NAA/Cr in BG. Best predictors for higher Cho/Cr in BG and MFC were CSF sCD14 and CSF MIP-1β. Plasma and CSF IP-10 were only associated with Cho/Cr in MFC. Of the three models that simultaneously accounted for both plasma and CSF, there were more associations between CSF biomarkers and MRS metabolites.
Markers of inflammation and immune activation, in particular MCP-1 and sCD14, predominantly reflecting CNS sources, contribute to the persistence of brain injury in a metabolite and region dependent manner in chronically HIV-infected patients on stable cART.
PMCID: PMC4424074  PMID: 25622053
HIV; AIDS; HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder; cerebrospinal fluid
3.  Neurocognitive Change in the Era of HIV Combination Antiretroviral Therapy: The Longitudinal CHARTER Study 
CNS HIVAnti-Retroviral Therapy Effects Research examined incidence and predictors of neurocognitive (NC) change in 436 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected adults over 4–7 semiannual visits; 22.7% evidenced NC decline and 16.5% NC improvement. These changes were predicted by HIV disease and treatment factors, demographics, and comorbid conditions.
Background. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) can show variable clinical trajectories. Previous longitudinal studies of HAND typically have been brief, did not use adequate normative standards, or were conducted in the context of a clinical trial, thereby limiting our understanding of incident neurocognitive (NC) decline and recovery.
Methods. We investigated the incidence and predictors of NC change over 16–72 (mean, 35) months in 436 HIV-infected participants in the CNS HIV Anti-Retroviral Therapy Effects Research cohort. Comprehensive laboratory, neuromedical, and NC assessments were obtained every 6 months. Published, regression-based norms for NC change were used to generate overall change status (decline vs stable vs improved) at each study visit. Survival analysis was used to examine the predictors of time to NC change.
Results. Ninety-nine participants (22.7%) declined, 265 (60.8%) remained stable, and 72 (16.5%) improved. In multivariable analyses, predictors of NC improvements or declines included time-dependent treatment status and indicators of disease severity (current hematocrit, albumin, total protein, aspartate aminotransferase), and baseline demographics and estimated premorbid intelligence quotient, non-HIV-related comorbidities, current depressive symptoms, and lifetime psychiatric diagnoses (overall model P < .0001).
Conclusions. NC change is common in HIV infection and appears to be driven by a complex set of risk factors involving HIV disease, its treatment, and comorbid conditions.
PMCID: PMC4303775  PMID: 25362201
cognitive change; HIV; antiretroviral therapy; comorbidities
4.  Using virtual worlds for patient and public engagement 
Patient and public involvement is fundamental in healthcare and many methods attempt to facilitate this engagement. The present study investigated use of computer-generated environments known as ‘virtual worlds’ (VW) as an involvement method.
The VW used in the present research was Second Life, which is 3-dimensional, publically accessible and internet-based. It is accessed using digital self-representations, or ‘avatars’, through which users navigate the virtual environment and communicate with one another.
Participants were patients with long-term conditions, frequently involved in shaping health research and care. Some had mobility and communication difficulties, potentially making involvement through traditional face-to-face modes of engagement challenging.
There were 2 stages to this study.
Stage-1: Participants were introduced to VWs and Second Life. This was followed by a face-to-face focus group discussion (FGD) in order to gain their views on use of SL.
Stage-2: An FGD attended by 8 people (4 patients, 3 researchers, 1 healthcare professional) was conducted in Second Life. Training and support on using Second Life had been provided for participants. The FGD took place successfully, although some technical and communication difficulties were experienced. Data was collected in the form of interviews and questionnaires from the patients about their experience of using the virtual world.
Participants recognised the potential of VWs as a platform for patient engagement, especially for those who suffer from chronic conditions that impact severely upon their mobility and communication. Participant feedback indicated that potential barriers include technical problems with VW programs and potential user inexperience of using VWs, which may be counteracted by ensuring provision of continuous training and support.
In conclusion, this study established the feasibility of using VWs for patient FGDs and indicates a potential of use of VWs for engagement in future, particularly for peer-led support and to engage people with particular long-term conditions.
PMCID: PMC4630859  PMID: 26543506
5.  Frontal White Matter Integrity Predictors of Adult Alcohol Treatment Outcome 
Biological psychiatry  2011;71(3):262-268.
Previous research has associated abnormalities in frontal lobe functioning with alcohol relapse. In this study, we used diffusion tensor imaging to investigate whether frontal white matter integrity measured at the start of treatment differs between persons with alcohol use disorders (AUD) who sustain treatment gains and those who return to heavy use after treatment.
Forty-five treatment-seeking AUD inpatients and 30 healthy control subjects were included in the study. Six months after completing treatment, 16 of the AUD participants had resumed heavy use (RHU) and 29 others remained abstinent or drank minimally (treatment sustainers [TS]). Voxel-wise group comparisons (TS vs. RHU) were performed on fractional anisotropy (FA), radial diffusivity (RD), and axial diffusivity maps generated from each subject’s diffusion tensor imaging scan at the start of treatment.
We found significantly lower FA and significantly higher RD in the frontal lobes of the RHU group, relative to the TS group. The RHU group data are consistent with previous reports of abnormal frontal white matter tract abnormalities in persons with AUD.
It is possible that the lower FA and higher RD in the RHU group reflect microstructural injury to frontal circuitries, and these may underlie the reduced cognitive control amid heightened reward sensitivity associated with resumption of heavy drinking.
PMCID: PMC4208753  PMID: 22047719
Alcohol; diffusion tensor imaging; frontal lobe; relapse; TBSS; white matter
6.  Differences in glucose-stimulated insulin secretion in vitro of islets from human, nonhuman primate and porcine origin 
Xenotransplantation  2013;20(2):75-81.
Porcine islet xenotransplantation is considered a potential cell-based therapy for type 1 diabetes. It is currently being evaluated in diabetic nonhuman primates (NHP) to assess safety and efficacy of the islet product. However, due to a variety of distinct differences between the respective species, including the insulin secretory characteristics of islets, the suitability and predictive value of the preclinical model in the extrapolation to the clinical setting remains a critical issue.
Islets isolated from human (n=3), NHP (n=2), adult pig (AP, n=3) and juvenile pig (JP, n=3) pancreata were perifused with medium at basal glucose (2.5mM) followed by high glucose (16.7mM) concentrations. The total glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS) was calculated from generated insulin secretion profiles.
NHP islets exhibited GSIS 3-fold higher than human islets, while AP and JP islets exhibited GSIS 1/3 and 1/16 of human islets, respectively. The insulin content of NHP and AP islets was similar to that of human islets, whereas that of JP islets was 1/3 of human islets.
Despite the fact that human, NHP, and AP islets contain similar amounts of insulin, the much higher GSIS for NHP islets than for human, AP and JP islets suggests the need for increased dosing of islets from JP and AP in pig-to-NHP transplantation which may be substantially higher than that required for humans. Finally, porcine islet xenotransplantation to humans may require significantly higher dosing given the lower GSIS of AP islets compared to human islets.
PMCID: PMC4145818  PMID: 23384163
human; islets; nonhuman primate; nutrient-stimulated insulin secretion; pig; species incompatibility
7.  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.
PMCID: PMC3776609  PMID: 23838849
Antiretroviral therapy; brain; CD4+ T-cell; immune recovery/reconstitution; inflammation; MRI
8.  HIV-Associated Distal Neuropathic Pain is Associated with Smaller Total Cerebral Cortical Gray Matter 
Journal of neurovirology  2014;20(3):209-218.
Despite modern antiretroviral therapy, HIV-associated sensory neuropathy affects over 50% of HIV patients. The clinical expression of HIV neuropathy is highly variable: many individuals report few symptoms, but about half report distal neuropathic pain (DNP), making it one of the most prevalent, disabling and treatment-resistant complications of HIV disease. The presence and intensity of pain is not fully explained by the degree of peripheral nerve damage, making it unclear why some patients do, and others do not, report pain. To better understand central nervous system contributions to HIV DNP, we performed a cross-sectional analysis of structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) volumes in 241 HIV-infected participants from an observational multi-site cohort study at five US sites (CNS HIV Antiretroviral Treatment Effects Research Study, CHARTER). The association between DNP and the structural imaging outcomes was investigated using both linear and nonlinear (Gaussian Kernel support vector) multivariable regression, controlling for key demographic and clinical variables. Severity of DNP symptoms was correlated with smaller total cerebral cortical gray matter volume (R = −0.24; p = 0.004). Understanding the mechanisms for this association between smaller total cortical volumes and DNP may provide insight into HIV DNP chronicity and treatment-resistance.
PMCID: PMC4040150  PMID: 24549970
HIV Distal Neuropathic Pain; Structural MRI; Cortical Volume
9.  Thermal Expansion of Vitrified Blood Vessels Permeated with DP6 and Synthetic Ice Modulators 
Cryobiology  2014;68(3):318-326.
This study provides thermal expansion data for blood vessels permeated with the cryoprotective cocktail DP6, when combined with selected synthetic ice modulators (SIMs): 12% polyethylene glycol 400, 6% 1,3-cyclohexanediol, and 6% 2,3-butanediol. The general classification of SIMs includes molecules that modulate ice nucleation and growth, or possess properties of stabilizing the amorphous state, by virtue of their chemical structure and at concentrations that are not explained on a purely colligative basis. The current study is part of an ongoing effort to characterize thermo-mechanical effects on structural integrity of cryopreserved materials, where thermal expansion is the driving mechanism to thermo-mechanical stress. This study focuses on the lower part of the cryogenic temperature range, where the cryoprotective agent (CPA) behaves as a solid for all practical applications. By combining results obtained in the current study with literature data on the thermal expansion in the upper part of the cryogenic temperature range, unified thermal expansion curves are presented.
PMCID: PMC4359760  PMID: 24769313
Cryopreservation; Vitrification; Synthetic Ice Modulators; Thermal Stress; Solid Mechanics; Thermal Expansion
10.  Shallow Encoding and Forgetting Are Associated with Dependence in Instrumental Activities of Daily Living Among Older Adults Living with HIV Infection 
Aging and HIV are both risk factors for memory deficits and declines in real-world functioning. However, we know little about the profile of memory deficits driving instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) declines across the lifespan in HIV. This study examined 145 younger (<50 years) and 119 older (≥50 years) adults with HIV who completed the California Verbal Learning Test-Second Edition (CVLT-II), the Wechsler Memory Scale-Third Edition Logical Memory subtest (WMS-III LM), and a modified Lawton and Brody ADL questionnaire. No memory predictors of IADL dependence emerged in the younger cohort. In the older group, IADL dependence was uniquely associated with worse performance on all primary CVLT-II variables, as well as elevated recency effects. Poorer immediate and delayed recall of the WMS-III LM was also associated with IADL dependence, although recognition was intact. Findings suggest older HIV-infected adults with shallow encoding and forgetting are at risk for IADL dependence.
PMCID: PMC4000232  PMID: 24695591
Aging; Disability; Everyday functioning; Learning and memory
11.  Clinical factors related to brain structure in HIV: the CHARTER study 
Journal of neurovirology  2011;17(3):248-257.
Despite the widening use of combination anti-retroviral therapy (ART), neurocognitive impairment remains common among HIV-infected (HIV+) individuals. Associations between HIV-related neuromedical variables and magnetic resonance imaging indices of brain structural integrity may provide insight into the neural bases for these symptoms. A diverse HIV+ sample (n=251) was studied through the CNS HIV Antiretroviral Therapy Effects Research initiative. Multi-channel image analysis produced volumes of ventricular and sulcal cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), cortical and subcortical gray matter, total cerebral white matter, and abnormal white matter. Cross-sectional analyses employed a series of multiple linear regressions to model each structural volume as a function of severity of prior immunosuppression (CD4 nadir), current CD4 count, presence of detectable CSF HIV RNA, and presence of HCV antibodies; secondary analyses examined plasma HIV RNA, estimated duration of HIV infection, and cumulative exposure to ART. Lower CD4 nadir was related to most measures of the structural brain damage. Higher current CD4, unexpectedly, correlated with lower white and subcortical gray and increased CSF. Detectable CSF HIV RNA was related to less total white matter. HCV coinfection was associated with more abnormal white matter. Longer exposure to ART was associated with lower white matter and higher sulcal CSF. HIV neuromedical factors, including lower nadir, higher current CD4 levels, and detectable HIV RNA, were associated with white matter damage and variability in subcortical volumes. Brain structural integrity in HIV likely reflects dynamic effects of current immune status and HIV replication, superimposed on residual effects associated with severe prior immunosuppression.
PMCID: PMC3702821  PMID: 21544705
HIV; MRI; Neuroimaging; Immunospupression
12.  A New Cryomacroscope Device (Type III) for Visualization of Physical Events in Cryopreservation with Applications to Vitrification and Synthetic Ice Modulators 
Cryobiology  2013;67(3):264-273.
The objective of the current study is to develop a new cryomacroscope prototype for the study of vitrification in large-size specimens. The unique contribution in the current study is in developing a cryomacroscope setup as an add-on device to a commercial controlled-rate cooler and in demonstration of physical events in cryoprotective cocktails containing synthetic ice modulators (SIM)—compounds which hinder ice crystal growth. Cryopreservation by vitrification is a highly complex application, where the likelihood of crystallization, fracture formation, degradation of the biomaterial quality, and other physical events are dependent not only upon the instantaneous cryogenic conditions, but more significantly upon the evolution of conditions along the cryogenic protocol. Nevertheless, cryopreservation success is most frequently assessed by evaluating the cryopreserved product at its end states—either at the cryogenic storage temperature or room temperature. The cryomacroscope is the only available device for visualization of large-size specimens along the thermal protocol, in an effort to correlate the quality of the cryopreserved product with physical events. Compared with earlier cryomacroscope prototypes, the new Cryomacroscope-III evaluated here benefits from a higher resolution color camera, improved illumination, digital recording capabilities, and high repeatability in tested thermal conditions via a commercial controlled-rate cooler. A specialized software package was developed in the current study, having two modes of operation: (a) experimentation mode to control the operation of the camera, record camera frames sequentially, log thermal data from sensors, and save case-specific information; and (b) post-processing mode to generate a compact file integrating images, elapsed time, and thermal data for each experiment. The benefits of the Cryomacroscope-III are demonstrated using various tested mixtures of SIMs with the cryoprotective cocktail DP6, which were found effective in preventing ice growth, even at significantly subcritical cooling rates with reference to the pure DP6.
PMCID: PMC4118937  PMID: 23993920
Cryomacroscopy; Synthetic Ice Modulators; Vitrification; Crystallization; Thermal Stress; DP6
13.  Limitations of Using Propidium Monoazide with qPCR to Discriminate between Live and Dead Legionella in Biofilm Samples 
Microbiology Insights  2014;7:15-24.
Accurately quantifying Legionella for regulatory purposes to protect public health is essential. Real-time PCR (qPCR) has been proposed as a better method for detecting and enumerating Legionella in samples than conventional culture method. However, since qPCR amplifies any target DNA in the sample, the technique’s inability to discriminate between live and dead cells means that counts are generally significantly overestimated. Propidium monoazide (PMA) has been used successfully in qPCR to aid live/dead discrimination. We tested PMA use as a method to count only live Legionella cells in samples collected from a modified chemostat that generates environmentally comparable samples. Counts from PMA-treated samples that were pretreated with either heat or three types of disinfectants (to kill the cells) were highly variable, with the only consistent trend being the relationship between biofilm mass and numbers of Legionella cells. Two possibilities explain this result: 1. PMA treatment worked and the subsequent muted response of Legionella to disinfection treatment is a factor of biofilm/microbiological effects; although this does not account for the relationship between the amount of biofilm sampled and the viable Legionella count as determined by PMA-qPCR; or 2. PMA treatment did not work, and any measured decrease or increase in detectable Legionella is because of other factors affecting the method. This is the most likely explanation for our results, suggesting that higher concentrations of PMA might be needed to compensate for the presence of other compounds in an environmental sample or that lower amounts of biofilm need to be sampled. As PMA becomes increasingly toxic at higher concentrations and is very expensive, augmenting the method to include higher PMA concentrations is both counterproductive and cost prohibitive. Conversely, if smaller volumes of biofilm are used, the reproducibility of the method is reduced. Our results suggest that using PMA is not an appropriate method for discriminating between live and dead cells to enumerate Legionella for regulatory purposes.
PMCID: PMC4167484  PMID: 25288885
Legionella; biofilm; qPCR; PMA; cooling tower
14.  Efavirenz concentrations in CSF exceed IC50 for wild-type HIV 
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.
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).
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3019085  PMID: 21098541
CNS; pharmacology; non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors
15.  Etravirine in CSF is highly protein bound 
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).
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.
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.
Unbound etravirine may not achieve optimal concentrations to inhibit HIV replication in the CNS.
PMCID: PMC3625433  PMID: 23335197
HIV; antiretroviral therapy; central nervous system; CNS; protein binding; CSF
16.  Callosal White Matter Microstructural Recovery in Abstinent Alcoholics: A Longitudinal Diffusion Tensor Imaging Study 
Previous neuroimaging studies of recently detoxified alcohol-dependent patients (RDA) have found significant loss of white matter integrity associated with the shrinkage of the frontal lobes and thinning of the corpus callosum, especially the genu. The current study hypothesized that, in addition to exhibiting the most microstructural white matter disruption in RDA, the genu will also evidence the most recovery after abstinence. This microstructural recovery will be associated with improvements in executive functioning measures.
Fifteen RDA were examined approximately 2 weeks after abstinence and again after 1 year of abstinence and compared to 15 age- and education-matched nonalcoholic controls using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). The effects of group, time, and their interactions on fractional anisotropy, radial diffusivity, and axial diffusivity were evaluated with repeated measures MANOVA; in addition, 2 × 2 ANOVA was used to test changes in measures of executive functioning in the 2 groups.
At 2 weeks of abstinence, DTI of RDA showed significantly lower fractional anisotropy and greater radial diffusivity compared to controls in the genu and body of the corpus callosum. Reexamination after 1 year showed significant time by group interaction with fractional anisotropy increasing and radial diffusivity decreasing in RDA but not controls in these 2 regions. A smaller relapsed group did not show improvements between the 2 time points. Abstinent RDA also showed improvement on Digit Span Backward, a measure of working memory, but did not benefit from practice effects on the Halstead Category Test compared to controls.
The results suggest susceptibility of the genu and body of the corpus callosum to the effects of alcohol, and the potential for recovery of both these regions after abstinence, perhaps via mechanisms involving myelin reconstitution.
PMCID: PMC3993083  PMID: 22551067
Diffusion Tensor Imaging; White Matter; Alcohol Dependence; Abstinence; Tract-Based Spatial Statistics
17.  Current State of Hypothermic Machine Perfusion Preservation of Organs: The Clinical Perspective 
Cryobiology  2009;60(3S):S20-S35.
This review focuses on the application of hypothermic perfusion technology as a topic of current interest with the potential to have a salutary impact on the mounting clinical challenges to improve the quantity and quality of donor organs and the outcome of transplantation. The ex vivo perfusion of donor organs on a machine prior to transplant, as opposed to static cold storage on ice, is not a new idea but is being re-visited because of the prospects of making available more and better organs for transplantation. The rationale for pursuing perfusion technology will be discussed in relation to emerging data on clinical outcomes and economic benefits for kidney transplantation. Reference will also be made to on-going research using other organs with special emphasis on the pancreas for both segmental pancreas and isolated islet transplantation. Anticipated and emerging benefits of hypothermic machine perfusion of organs are: i) maintaining the patency of the vascular bed, ii) providing nutrients and low demand oxygen to support reduced energy demands, iii) removal of metabolic by-products and toxins, iv) provision of access for administration of cytoprotective agents and/or immunomodulatory drugs, v) increase of available assays for organ viability assessment and tissue matching, vi) facilitation of a change from emergency to elective scheduled surgery with reduced costs and improved outcomes, vii) improved clinical outcomes as demonstrated by reduced PNF and DGF parameters, viii) improved stabilization or rescue of ECD kidneys or organs from NHBD that increase the size of the donor pool, ix) significant economic benefit for the transplant centers and reduced health care costs, and x) provision of a technology for ex vivo use of non-transplanted human organs for pharmaceutical development research.
PMCID: PMC2891866  PMID: 19857479
Hypothermic Preservation; Machine perfusion preservation; Organ storage; Clinical transplant outcomes; Ischemia; Hypoxia
18.  Development of Pancreas Storage Solutions: Initial Screening of Cytoprotective Supplements for β-Cell Survival and Metabolic Status after Hypothermic Storage 
Biopreservation and Biobanking  2013;11(1):12-18.
Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus is one of the leading causes of death world-wide. Donor-derived pancreas and Islet of Langerhans transplantation are potential cures; however, postmortem ischemia impacts islet quality. The murine βt3 cell line was employed as a model to study cell viability and proliferation after hypothermic storage by comparing Belzer's Machine Perfusion Solution with Unisol™ Solution. The objective was to determine which of these solutions provided the best base line support for βt3 cells and to screen potential cytoprotective additives to the solutions. Initial βt3 cell viability was similar in the two storage solutions; however, better proliferation was observed after storage in Unisol Solution. The caspase inhibitor, Q-VD-OPH, and α-tocopherol improved viability in both storage solutions, suggesting that apoptotic pathways may be responsible for cell death during hypothermic storage of βt3 cells. Analysis of apoptosis markers, caspase activity, and DNA laddering showed a reduction in apoptosis when these additives were included. The effects of Q-VD-OPH and α-tocopherol were also synergistic when employed together during either hypothermic exposure, post-hypothermic physiologic incubation, or combinations of hypothermic exposure and physiologic incubation. These results suggest that both supplements should be included in pancreas hypothermic storage solutions and in islet culture media during post-isolation culture prior to transplantation.
PMCID: PMC4077006  PMID: 24845250
19.  Thermal Expansion of the Cryoprotectant Cocktail DP6 Combined with Synthetic Ice Modulators in Presence and Absence of Biological Tissues 
Cryobiology  2012;65(2):117-125.
This study explores physical effects associated with the application of cryopreservation via vitrification using a class of compounds which are defined here as synthetic ice modulators (SIMs). The general classification of SIMs includes molecules that modulate ice nucleation and growth, or possess properties of stabilizing the amorphous state, by virtue of their chemical structure and at concentrations that are not explained on a purely colligative basis. A subcategory of SIMs, referred to in the literature as synthetic ice blockers (SIBs), are compounds that interact directly with ice nuclei or crystals to modify their structure and/or rate of growth. The current study is part of an ongoing effort to characterize thermo-mechanical effects during vitrification, with emphasis on measuring the physical property of thermal expansion—the driving mechanism to thermo-mechanical stress. Materials under investigation are the cryoprotective agent (CPA) cocktail DP6 in combination with one of the following SIMs: 12% polyethylene glycol 400, 6% 1,3 cyclohexanediol, and 6% 2,3 butanediol. Results are presented for the CPA-SIM cocktail in the absence and presence of bovine muscle and goat artery specimens. This study focuses on the upper part of the cryogenic temperature range, where the CPA behaves as a fluid for all practical applications. Results of this study indicate that the addition of SIMs to DP6 allows lower cooling rates to ensure vitrification and extends the range of measurements. It is demonstrated that the combination of SIM with DP6 increases the thermal expansion of the cocktail, with implications for the likelihood of fracture formation—the most dramatic outcome of thermo-mechanical stress.
PMCID: PMC3545655  PMID: 22579521
Thermal Expansion; Solid Mechanics; Vitrification; Synthetic Ice Blockers; Synthetic Ice Modulators
20.  Review of vitreous islet cryopreservation 
Organogenesis  2009;5(3):155-166.
Transplantation of pancreatic islets for the treatment of diabetes mellitus is widely anticipated to eventually provide a cure once a means for preventing rejection is found without reliance upon global immunosuppression. Long-term storage of islets is crucial for the organization of transplantation, islet banking, tissue matching, organ sharing, immuno-manipulation and multiple donor transplantation. Existing methods of cryopreservation involving freezing are known to be suboptimal providing only about 50% survival. The development of techniques for ice-free cryopreservation of mammalian tissues using both natural and synthetic ice blocking molecules, and the process of vitrification (formation of a glass as opposed to crystalline ice) has been a focus of research during recent years. These approaches have established in other tissues that vitrification can markedly improve survival by circumventing ice-induced injury. Here we review some of the underlying issues that impact the vitrification approach to islet cryopreservation and describe some initial studies to apply these new technologies to the long-term storage of pancreatic islets. These studies were designed to optimize both the pre-vitrification hypothermic exposure conditions using newly developed media and to compare new techniques for ice-free cryopreservation with conventional freezing protocols. Some practical constraints and feasible resolutions are discussed. Eventually the optimized techniques will be applied to clinical allografts and xenografts or genetically-modified islets designed to overcome immune responses in the diabetic host.
PMCID: PMC2781096  PMID: 20046679
cryoprotectants; islet cryopreservation; islet banking; islet vitrification; pancreatic islets; rat islets; vitrification
21.  Disrupted cerebral metabolite levels and lower nadir CD4 + counts are linked to brain volume deficits in 210 HIV-infected patients on stable treatment☆ 
NeuroImage : Clinical  2013;3:132-142.
Cognitive impairment and brain injury are common in people with HIV/AIDS, even when viral replication is effectively suppressed with combined antiretroviral therapies (cART). Metabolic and structural abnormalities may promote cognitive decline, but we know little about how these measures relate in people on stable cART. Here we used tensor-based morphometry (TBM) to reveal the 3D profile of regional brain volume variations in 210 HIV + patients scanned with whole-brain MRI at 1.5 T (mean age: 48.6 ± 8.4 years; all receiving cART). We identified brain regions where the degree of atrophy was related to HIV clinical measures and cerebral metabolite levels assessed with magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). Regional brain volume reduction was linked to lower nadir CD4 + count, with a 1–2% white matter volume reduction for each 25-point reduction in nadir CD4 +. Even so, brain volume measured by TBM showed no detectable association with current CD4 + count, AIDS Dementia Complex (ADC) stage, HIV RNA load in plasma or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), duration of HIV infection, antiretroviral CNS penetration-effectiveness (CPE) scores, or years on cART, after controlling for demographic factors, and for multiple comparisons. Elevated glutamate and glutamine (Glx) and lower N-acetylaspartate (NAA) in the frontal white matter, basal ganglia, and mid frontal cortex — were associated with lower white matter, putamen and thalamus volumes, and ventricular and CSF space expansion. Reductions in brain volumes in the setting of chronic and stable disease are strongly linked to a history of immunosuppression, suggesting that delays in initiating cART may result in imminent and irreversible brain damage.
•We mapped the 3D pattern of brain abnormalities in 210 HIV patients on stable cART.•Brain atrophy was linked to MRS metabolite disturbances reflecting neuronal injury.•Lower nadir CD4 + count was associated with greater white matter atrophy.
PMCID: PMC3791291  PMID: 24179857
Combined antiretroviral therapy; HIV; Magnetic resonance imaging; Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy; Tensor-based morphometry; Nadir CD4 +
22.  Persufflation (or Gaseous Oxygen Perfusion) as a Method of Organ Preservation 
Cryobiology  2012;64(3):125-143.
Improved preservation techniques have the potential to improve transplant outcomes by better maintaining donor organ quality and by making more organs available for allotransplantation. Persufflation, (PSF, gaseous oxygen perfusion) is potentially one such technique that has been studied for over a century in a variety of tissues, but has yet to gain wide acceptance for a number of reasons. A principal barrier is the perception that ex vivo PSF will cause in vivo embolization post-transplant. This review summarizes the extensive published work on heart, liver, kidney, small intestine and pancreas PSF, discusses the differences between anterograde and retrograde PSF and between PSF and other conventional methods of organ preservation (static cold storage, hypothermic machine perfusion). Prospective implications of PSF within the broader field of organ transplantation, and in the specific application with pancreatic islet isolation and transplant are also discussed. Finally, key issues that need to be addressed before PSF becomes a more widely utilized preservation strategy are summarized and discussed.
PMCID: PMC3519283  PMID: 22301419
gaseous oxygen perfusion; persufflation; organ preservation
Transplantation proceedings  2008;40(2):480-482.
Procurement of donor pancreases for islet isolation and transplantation is not yet widely practiced due to concerns about post-mortem ischemia upon functional islet yields. Perfusion/preservation technology can help to circumvent ischemic injury and is applied in this study to porcine pancreata (Px) prior to islet isolation. Px harvested from adult pigs were assigned to one of three preservation treatment groups:G1) Fresh controls - processed immediately with minimum cold ischemia(<1h) G2) Static Cold Storage-flushed with cold UW-Viaspan and stored at 2–4ºC for 24h, and G3) Hypothermic Machine Perfusion (HMP)-perfused on a pulsatile LifePort® machine with KPS1 solution at 4–7ºC and low pressure(10mmHg) for 24h. Islet isolation was then accomplished using conventional methods and standard accepted product release criteria were used to assess islet yield and function. Islet yield was markedly different between the treatment groups and the increased yield in the HMP group over the static cold storage in UW-Viaspan was statistically significant (p<0.05). Functionally, the islets from each experimental group were equivalent and not significantly different to fresh controls (G1). Dithizone staining for islets showed a consistently more uniform digestion of the Px from G3 compared with G1 and G2, with greater separation of the tissue and less entrapped islets. HMP for 24h is well tolerated leading to moderate edema but no loss of function of the harvested islets. The edema appears to aid in enzymatic digestion producing a greater yield and purity of islets compared with Px subjected to 24h of static cold storage.
PMCID: PMC2413169  PMID: 18374108
24.  Application of Magnetic Particle Tracking Velocimetry to Quadrupole Magnetic Sorting of Porcine Pancreatic Islets 
Biotechnology and bioengineering  2011;108(9):2107-2117.
Magnetic isolation is a promising method for separating and concentrating pancreatic islets of Langerhans for transplantation in Type 1 Diabetes patients. We are developing a continuous magnetic islet sorter to overcome the restrictions of current purification methods that result in limited yield and viability. In Quadrupole Magnetic Sorting (QMS) islets are magnetized by infusing superparamagnetic microbeads into islets’ vasculature via arteries that serve the pancreas. The performance of the islet sorter depends on the resulting speed of the islets in an applied magnetic field, a property known as magnetophoretic mobility. Essential to the design and successful operation of the QMS is a method to measure the magnetophoretic mobilities of magnetically infused islets. We have adapted a Magnetic Particle Tracking Velocimeter (MPTV) to measure the magnetophoretic mobility of particles up to 1000 microns in diameter. Velocity measurements are performed in a well-characterized uniform magnetic energy gradient using video imaging followed by analysis of the video images with a computer algorithm that produces a histogram of absolute mobilities. MPTV was validated using magnetic agarose beads serving as islet surrogates and subjecting them to QMS. Mobility distributions of labeled porcine islets indicated that magnetized islets have sufficient mobility to be captured by the proposed sorting method, with this result confirmed in test isolations of magnetized islets.
PMCID: PMC3139696  PMID: 21495008
Particle tracking velocimetry; magnetic flow sorter; pancreatic islets isolation; magnetic particles
25.  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.
PMCID: PMC3081684  PMID: 21459901
AIDS dementia complex; Episodic memory; Executive functions; Neuropsychological assessment

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