Despite the important diagnostic value of evaluating antibody responses to individual human pathogens, antibody profiles against multiple infectious agents have not been used to explore health and disease mainly for technical reasons. We hypothesized that the interplay between infection and chronic disease might be revealed by profiling antibodies against multiple agents. Here, the levels of antibodies against a panel of 13 common infectious agents were evaluated with the quantitative Luciferase Immunoprecipitation Systems (LIPS) in patients from three disease cohorts including those with pathogenic anti-interferon-γ autoantibodies (IFN-γ AAB), HIV and Sjögren’s syndrome (SjS) to determine if their antibody profiles differed from control subjects. The IFN-γ AAB patients compared to controls demonstrated statistically higher levels of antibodies against VZV (p=0.0003), EBV (p=0.002), CMV (p=0.003), and C. albicans (p=0.03), but lower antibody levels against poliovirus (p=0.04). Comparison of HIV patients with blood donor controls revealed that the patients had higher levels of antibodies against CMV (p=0.0008), HSV-2 (p=0.0008), EBV (p=0.001), and C. albicans (p=0.01), but showed decreased levels of antibodies against coxsackievirus B4 (p=0.0008), poliovirus (p=0.0005), and HHV-6B (p=0.002). Lastly, SjS patients had higher levels of anti-EBV antibodies (p=0.03), but lower antibody levels against several enteroviruses including a newly identified picornavirus, HCoSV-A (p=0.004), coxsackievirus B4 (p=0.04), and poliovirus (p=0.02). For the IFN-γ AAB and HIV cohorts, principal component analysis revealed unique antibody clusters that showed the potential to discriminate patients from controls. The results suggest that antibody profiles against these and likely other common infectious agents may yield insight into the interplay between exposure to infectious agents, dysbiosis, adaptive immunity and disease activity.
PacBio RS, a newly emerging third-generation DNA sequencing platform, is based on a real-time, single-molecule, nano-nitch sequencing technology that can generate very long reads (up to 20-kb) in contrast to the shorter reads produced by the first and second generation sequencing technologies. As a new platform, it is important to assess the sequencing error rate, as well as the quality control (QC) parameters associated with the PacBio sequence data. In this study, a mixture of 10 prior known, closely related DNA amplicons were sequenced using the PacBio RS sequencing platform. After aligning Circular Consensus Sequence (CCS) reads derived from the above sequencing experiment to the known reference sequences, we found that the median error rate was 2.5% without read QC, and improved to 1.3% with an SVM based multi-parameter QC method. In addition, a De Novo assembly was used as a downstream application to evaluate the effects of different QC approaches. This benchmark study indicates that even though CCS reads are post error-corrected it is still necessary to perform appropriate QC on CCS reads in order to produce successful downstream bioinformatics analytical results.
PacBio; CCS read; quality control (QC); pass number; quality value (QV); SVM regression; assembly
Background. Although human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and antiretroviral therapy (ART) affect mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) content and function, comprehensive evaluations of their effects on mitochondria in muscle, adipose tissue, and blood cells are limited.
Methods. Mitochondrial DNA quantification, mitochondrial genome sequencing, and gene expression analysis were performed on muscle, adipose tissue, and peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) samples from untreated HIV-positive patients, HIV-positive patients receiving nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI)–based ART, and HIV-negative controls.
Results. The adipose tissue mtDNA/nuclear DNA (nDNA) ratio was increased in untreated HIV-infected patients (ratio, 353) and decreased in those receiving ART (ratio, 162) compared with controls (ratio, 255; P < .05 for both comparisons); the difference between the 2 HIV-infected groups was also significant (P = .002). In HIV-infected participants, mtDNA/nDNA in adipose tissue correlated with the level of activation (CD38+/HLA-DR+) for CD4+ and CD8+ lymphocytes. No significant differences in mtDNA content were noted in muscle or PMBCs among groups. Exploratory DNA microarray analysis identified differential gene expression between patient groups, including a subset of adipose tissue genes.
Conclusions. HIV infection and ART have opposing effects on mtDNA content in adipose tissue; immune activation may mediate the effects of HIV, whereas NRTIs likely mediate the effects of ART.
By restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis, 2 outbreaks of Pneumocystis pneumonia in renal transplant patients in Europe were shown to be caused by the same strain of Pneumocystis; another outbreak in Japan was caused by a different strain.
Background. There have been numerous reports of clustered outbreaks of Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) at renal transplant centers over the past 2 decades. It has been unclear whether these outbreaks were linked epidemiologically to 1 or several unique strains, which could have implications for transmission patterns or strain virulence.
Methods. Restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis was used to compare Pneumocystis isolates from 3 outbreaks of PCP in renal transplant patients in Germany, Switzerland, and Japan, as well as nontransplant isolates from both human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–infected and uninfected patients.
Results. Based on RFLP analysis, a single Pneumocystis strain caused pneumonia in transplant patients in Switzerland (7 patients) and Germany (14 patients). This strain was different from the strain that caused an outbreak in transplant patients in Japan, as well as strains causing sporadic cases of PCP in nontransplant patients with or without HIV infection.
Conclusions. Two geographically distinct clusters of PCP in Europe were due to a single strain of Pneumocystis. This suggests either enhanced virulence of this strain in transplant patients or a common, but unidentified, source of transmission. Outbreaks of PCP can be better understood by enhanced knowledge of transmission patterns and strain variation.
Studying Pneumocystis has proven to be a challenge from the perspective of propagating a significant amount of the pathogen in a facile manner. The study of several fungal pathogens has been aided by the use of invertebrate model hosts. Our efforts to infect the invertebrate larvae Galleria mellonella with Pneumocystis proved futile since P. murina neither caused disease nor was able to proliferate within G. mellonella. It did, however, show that the pathogen could be rapidly cleared from the host.
Galleria mellonella; infection model; Pneumocystis murina
In limited samples of valuable biological tissues, univariate ranking methods of microarray analyses often fail to show significant differences among expression profiles. In order to allow for hypothesis generation, novel statistical modeling systems can be greatly beneficial. The authors applied new statistical approaches to solve the issue of limited experimental data to generate new hypotheses in CD14+ cells of patients with HIV-related fatigue (HRF) and healthy controls.
We compared gene expression profiles of CD14+ cells of nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI)-treated HIV patients with low versus high fatigue to healthy controls (n = 5 each). With novel Bayesian modeling procedures, the authors identified 32 genes predictive of low versus high fatigue and 33 genes predictive of healthy versus HIV infection. Sparse association and liquid association networks further elucidated the possible biological pathways in which these genes are involved.
Relevance for nursing practice
Genetic networks developed in a comprehensive Bayesian framework from small sample sizes allow nursing researchers to design future research approaches to address such issues as HRF.
Implication for practice
The findings from this pilot study may take us one step closer to the development of useful biomarker targets for fatigue status. Specific and reliable tests are needed to diagnosis, monitor and treat fatigue and mitochondrial dysfunction.
CD14; genetic network; Bayesian inference; liquid association; HIV
A number of herbal preparations have been shown to interact with prescription medications secondary to modulation of cytochrome P450 (CYP) and/or P-glycoprotein (P-gp). The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of Panax ginseng on CYP3A and P-gp function using the probe substrates midazolam and fexofenadine, respectively. Twelve healthy subjects (8 males) completed this open label, single sequence pharmacokinetic study. Healthy volunteers received single oral doses of midazolam 8 mg and fexofenadine 120 mg, before and after 28 days of P. ginseng 500 mg twice daily. Midazolam and fexofenadine pharmacokinetic parameter values were calculated and compared pre-and post P. ginseng administration. Geometric mean ratios (post-ginseng/pre-ginseng) for midazolam area under the concentration vs. time curve from zero to infinity (AUC0-∞), half life (T1/2), and maximum concentration (Cmax) were significantly reduced at 0.66 (0.55 – 0.78), 0.71 (0.53 – 0.90), and 0.74 (0.56 – 0.93), respectively. Conversely, fexofenadine pharmacokinetics were unaltered by P. ginseng administration. Based on these results, Panax ginseng appeared to induce CYP3A activity in the liver and possibly the gastrointestinal tract. Patients taking Panax ginseng in combination with CYP3A substrates with narrow therapeutic ranges should be monitored closely for adequate therapeutic response to the substrate medication.
HIV; Panax ginseng; cytochrome P450; drug interaction; midazolam; herb
For many infectious agents, the detection of antibodies is critical for diagnosis, monitoring and understanding vaccine responses. To facilitate the highly quantitative and simultaneous analysis of antibodies against multiple proteins from infectious agents, we have developed Luciferase Immunoprecipitation Systems (LIPS) arrays. By configuring microtiter plates with multiple antigens and testing control and infected serum samples at one time in solution, LIPS arrays provided highly reproducible antibody titers to panels of antigens with a wide dynamic range of detection. While all serum samples showed similar positive and negative immunoreactivity with internal control antigens derived from Influenza and Renilla luciferase-alone protein, respectively, antibody titers to many HCV and HIV antigens were generally 10 to over 400-fold higher in the infected versus uninfected samples. Additional screening of 18 proteins from the EBV proteome with serum samples from healthy EBV-infected individuals showed statistically significant antibody titers to 50% of the proteins tested. Antibody titers for the different EBV antigens in the healthy EBV-infected individuals were markedly heterogeneous highlighting the complexity of host humoral responses. These results suggest that LIPS arrays offer a highly discriminating platform for simultaneously profiling a wide spectrum of antibodies associated with many infectious agents.
Although HIV-positive patients are at higher risk for developing a variety of infection-related cancers, the prevalence of infections with the seven known cancer-associated viruses has not been studied. Luciferase immunoprecipitation systems were used to evaluate antiviral antibodies in four 23-person groups: healthy blood donors and HIV-infected patients with oral hairy leukoplakia (OLP), Kaposi's sarcoma (KS), or non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). Antibody profiling revealed that all HIV-positive individuals were strongly seropositive for anti-gp41 and antireverse transcriptase antibodies. However, anti-p24 HIV antibody levels were highly variable and some OLP and KS patients demonstrated weak or negative responses. Profiling two EBV antigens revealed no statistical difference in antibody levels among the three HIV-infected groups. A high frequency of KSHV infection was detected in HIV patients including 100% of KS, 78% of OLP, and 57% of NHL patients. Most HIV-infected subjects (84%) showed anti-HBV core antibodies, but only a few showed antibodies against HCV. MCV seropositivity was also common (94%) in the HIV-infected individuals and KS patients showed statistically higher antibody levels compared to the OLP and NHL patients. Overall, 68% of the HIV-infected patients showed seropositivity with at least four cancer-associated viruses. Antibody profiles against these and other infectious agents could be useful for enhancing the clinical management of HIV patients.
To determine the influence of Echinacea purpurea on the pharmacokinetics of lopinavir-ritonavir, and on CYP3A and P-glycoprotein (P-gp) activity using the probe substrates midazolam, and fexofenadine, respectively.
Open label, single-sequence pharmacokinetic study.
Outpatient clinic in a Federal Government research hospital.
Thirteen (8 males) healthy volunteers (median age: 31 yrs).
Measurements and main results
Healthy volunteers received lopinavir-ritonavir (400/100 mg) twice daily for 30 days. On study day 16, subjects began taking Echinacea purpurea 500 mg three times daily, which they continued for four weeks, the first two weeks in combination with lopinavir-ritonavir. On days 15 and 30 of lopinavir-ritonavir administration (pre and post-Echinacea, respectively), serial blood samples were collected over 12 hrs to determine lopinavir and ritonavir concentrations and subsequent pharmacokinetic parameters using non-compartmental methods. Study subjects also received single doses of midazolam (8 mg orally) and fexofenadine (120 mg orally) before- and after 28 days of Echinacea purpurea to assess CYP3A and P-glycoprotein (P-gp) activity, respectively. Neither lopinavir nor ritonavir pharmacokinetics were significantly altered by 2 weeks of Echinacea coadministration. The geometric mean ratios (GMR, 90% CI) for lopinavir area under the concentration vs. time curve from zero to 12 hrs (AUC0–12) and maximum concentration (post-Echinacea/pre-Echinacea) were 0.96 (0.83, 1.10) and 1.00 (0.88, 1.12), respectively (P > 0.05). Conversely, GMRs (90% CIs) for midazolam AUC from time zero to infinity (AUC0-∞) and oral clearance were 0.73 (0.61, 0.85) (P = 0.008) and 1.37 (1.10, 1.63) (P = 0.02), respectively. Fexofenadine pharmacokinetics did not significantly differ pre- and post-echinacea administration (P > 0.05).
Echinacea purpurea induced CYP3A activity but did not alter lopinavir concentrations, most likely due to the presence of the potent CYP3A inhibitor, ritonavir. Echinacea purpurea is unlikely to alter the pharmacokinetics of ritonavir-boosted protease inhibitors but may cause modest decreases in plasma concentrations of other CYP3A substrates.
HIV; protease inhibitors; lopinavir; ritonavir; Echinacea purpurea; herb; cytochrome P450; P-glycoprotein; drug interaction
Compartmental differences in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) between the gut and peripheral blood and within the gut were examined. Biopsy specimens from the colon and ileum and peripheral blood samples were collected from chronically HIV-1–infected individuals. HIV-1 envelope sequences were examined from cell-associated DNA and RNA and virion RNA. Phylogenetic analysis revealed no evidence of compartmentalization of HIV-1 between the gut and peripheral blood and within the gut (colon and ileum). HIV-1 sequences detected in the gut were transcriptionally active and were also found in peripheral blood from matching time points, providing evidence of ongoing virus production in the gut and equilibrium of HIV-1 between the gut and peripheral blood compartments.
The major surface glycoprotein (Msg) of Pneumocystis is encoded by approximately 50 to 80 unique but related genes. Msg diversity may represent a mechanism for immune escape from host T cell responses. We examined splenic T cell proliferative and cytokine as well as serum antibody responses to recombinant and native Pneumocystis antigens in immunized or Pneumocystis-infected mice. In addition, immune responses were examined in 5 healthy humans.
Proliferative responses to each of two recombinant Msg variant proteins were seen in mice immunized with either recombinant protein, but no proliferation to these antigens was seen in mice immunized with crude Pneumocystis antigens or in mice that had cleared infection, although the latter animals demonstrated proliferative responses to crude Pneumocystis antigens and native Msg. IL-17 and MCP-3 were produced in previously infected animals in response to the same antigens, but not to recombinant antigens. Antibody responses to the recombinant P. murina Msg variant proteins were seen in all groups of animals, demonstrating that all groups were exposed to and mounted immune responses to Msg. No human PBMC samples proliferated following stimulation with P. jirovecii Msg, while antibody responses were detected in sera from 4 of 5 samples.
Cross-reactive antibody responses to Msg variants are common, while cross-reactive T cell responses are uncommon; these results support the hypothesis that Pneumocystis utilizes switching of Msg variant expression to avoid host T cell responses.
Antigenic variation; Immune response; Major surface glycoprotein; Pneumocystis
During the past 30 years, major advances have been made in our understanding of HIV/AIDS and Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP), but significant gaps remain. Pneumocystis is classified as a fungus and is host-species specific, but an understanding of its reservoir, mode of transmission, and pathogenesis is incomplete. PCP remains a frequent AIDS-defining diagnosis and is a frequent opportunistic pneumonia in the United States and in Europe, but comparable epidemiologic data from other areas of the world that are burdened with HIV/AIDS are limited. Pneumocystis cannot be cultured, and bronchoscopy with bronchoalveolar lavage is the gold standard procedure to diagnose PCP, but noninvasive diagnostic tests and biomarkers show promise that must be validated. Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole is the recommended first-line treatment and prophylaxis regimen, but putative trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole drug resistance is an emerging concern. The International HIV-associated Opportunistic Pneumonias (IHOP) study was established to address these knowledge gaps. This review describes recent advances in the pathogenesis, epidemiology, diagnosis, and management of HIV-associated PCP and ongoing areas of clinical and translational research that are part of the IHOP study and the Longitudinal Studies of HIV-associated Lung Infections and Complications (Lung HIV).
acquired immune deficiency syndrome; HIV; Pneumocystis; Pneumocystis pneumonia; dihydropteroate synthase
Some patients with liver disease progress to cirrhosis, but the risk factors for cirrhosis development are unknown. Dyskeratosis congenita, an inherited bone marrow failure syndrome associated with mucocutaneous anomalies, pulmonary fibrosis, andcirrhosis, is caused by germ-line mutations of genesin the telomerase complex. We examined whether telomerase mutations also occurred in sporadic cirrhosis. One hundred thirty-four patients with cirrhosis of common etiologies treated at the Liver Research Institute, University of Arizona, between May 2008 and July 2009, and 528healthy subjects were screened for variation in the TERT and TERC genes by direct sequencing; an additional 1472 controls were examined for the most common genetic variation observed in patients. Telomere length of leukocytes was measured by quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Functional effects of genetic changes were assessed by transfection of mutation-containing vectors into telomerase-deficient cell lines, and telomerase activity was measured in cell lysates. Nine of the 134 patients with cirrhosis (7%) carried a missense variant in TERT, resulting in a cumulative carrier frequency significantly higher than in controls (P=0.0009). One patient was homozygous and eight were heterozygous. The allele frequency for the most common missense TERT variant was significantly higher in cirrhotic patients (2.6%) than in 2000 controls (0.7%; P=0.0011). One additional patient carried a TERC mutation. The mean telomere length of leukocytesin cirrhotic patients, including six mutant cases, was shorter than in age-matched controls(P=0.0004). Most TERT gene variants reduced telomerase enzymatic activity in vitro. Loss-of-function telomerase gene variants associated with short telomeres are risk factors for sporadic cirrhosis.
telomere; regeneration; dyskeratosis congenital; aplastic anemia
We sought to determine the effects of interleukin-2 administered in combination with antiretroviral therapy (ART) on CD4+ T cells in the gut. Lymphocytes from whole blood, colon and terminal ileum of HIV infected adults treated with interleukin-2 and ART or ART alone were examined. There were no differences between groups in the proportion of CD4+ T cells or in expression of CD25 or Ki67 by CD4+T cells in the gut. Although IL-2 administration leads to expansion of peripheral blood CD4+ T cells, there is no alteration in the proportion or activation of CD4+ T cells in the gut mucosa.
gastrointestinal tract; mucosa; IL-2; HIV; CD4
The life cycle of Pneumocystis, which causes life-threatening pneumonia in immunosuppressed patients, remains poorly defined. In the present study, we have identified and characterized an orthologue of dmc1, a gene specific for meiotic recombination in yeast, in 3 species of Pneumocystis. dmc1 is a single-copy gene that is transcribed as ∼1.2-kb messenger RNA, which encodes a protein of 336–337 amino acids. Pneumocystis Dmc1 was 61%–70% identical to those from yeast. Confocal microscopy results indicated that the expression of Dmc1 is primarily confined to the cyst form of Pneumocystis. By sequence analysis of 2 single-copy regions of the human Pneumocystis jirovecii genome, we can infer multiple recombination events, which are consistent with meiotic recombination in this primarily haploid organism. Taken together, these studies support the occurrence of a sexual phase in the life cycle of Pneumocystis.
The life cycle of Pneumocystis, which causes life-threatening pneumonia in immunosuppressed patients, remains poorly defined. In the present study, we have identified and characterized an orthologue of dmc1, a gene specific for meiotic recombination in yeasts, in 3 species of Pneumocystis. dmc1 is a single copy gene that is transcribed as an ~1.2 kb mRNA, which encodes a protein of 336–337 amino acids. Pneumocystis Dmc1 was 61 to 70% identical to those from yeast. Based on confocal microscopy, the expression of Dmc1 is primarily confined to the cyst form of Pneumocystis. By sequence analysis of 2 single copy regions of the human P. jirovecii genome, we can infer multiple recombination events, which are consistent with meiotic recombination in this primarily haploid organism. Taken together, these studies support the occurrence of a sexual phase in the life cycle of Pneumocystis.
Pneumocystis; recombinase; recombination; sexual reproduction
During acute human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, there is a massive depletion of CD4+ T cells in the gut mucosa that can be reversed to various degrees with antiretroviral therapy. Th17 cells have been implicated in mucosal immunity to extracellular bacteria, and preservation of this subset may support gut mucosal immune recovery. However, this possibility has not yet been evaluated in HIV-1-infected long-term nonprogressors (LTNPs), who maintain high CD4+ T cell counts and suppress viral replication in the absence of antiretroviral therapy. In this study, we evaluated the immunophenotype and function of CD4+ T cells in peripheral blood and gut mucosa of HIV-uninfected controls, LTNPs, and HIV-1-infected individuals treated with prolonged antiretroviral therapy (ART) (VL [viral load]<50). We found that LTNPs have intact CD4+ T cell populations, including Th17 and cycling subsets, in the gut mucosa and a preserved T cell population expressing gut homing molecules in the peripheral blood. In addition, we observed no evidence of higher monocyte activation in LTNPs than in HIV-infected (HIV−) controls. These data suggest that, similar to nonpathogenic simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infection, LTNPs preserve the balance of CD4+ T cell populations in blood and gut mucosa, which may contribute to the lack of disease progression observed in these patients.
We quantified antibody responses to the HCV proteome that are associated with sustained virologic response (SVR) in HIV/HCV co-infected patients treated with pegylated interferon and ribavirin. Analysis of pre- and post-treatment samples revealed significant decreases in the combined anti-core, anti-E1 and anti-NS4 HCV antibody titers in those with SVR, but not in the relapsers or non-responders. Furthermore, anti-p24 HIV antibody titers inversely correlated with treatment response. These results suggest that profiling anti-HCV antibody is useful for monitoring HCV therapy especially in discriminating between relapsers and SVRs at 48 weeks.
Antibodies; HCV proteome; SVR; Relapsers
A randomized, controlled clinical trial was started in the pre-HAART era to compare the efficacy of zidovudine (AZT) and interferon-alpha (IFN-α) either alone or in combination to reduce HIV viremia, maintain CD4+ cell count, and decrease time to AIDS progression and death. The purpose of the current study was to compare the effects of AZT and IFN on HIV load using modern technology. One hundred and eighty patients with CD4+ counts above 500 cells/mm3 were randomized to receive AZT alone, IFN-α alone, or AZT and IFN-α in combination. CD4+ cell count and HIV load at baseline and at the last follow-up visit were compared, and time to AIDS or death was calculated by treatment group. At a mean follow-up of 45 weeks, the mean change in log HIV RNA was −0.06 for the AZT alone group, −0.47 for the AZT plus IFN-α group (P = 0.01 versus AZT group), and −0.35 for the IFN-α alone group (P = 0.02 versus AZT group). There was no significant difference among groups in change in total CD4+ count or in time to AIDS or death. Since treatment with IFN-α produces significant decreases in HIV load, additional studies of IFN-α as part of a combination regimen are warranted.
Antibody responses against lytic and latent KSHV antigens were investigated in patients with Kaposi sarcoma (KS), multicentric Castleman’s disease (MCD), and primary effusion lymphoma. Antibodies against the lytic antigen K8.1 were 5-fold higher in MCD than KS patients, while antibodies to the sum of latent antigens v-cyclin and LANA were 27-fold higher in KS compared to MCD patients (P< 0.0001). The sum of anti-v-cyclin and anti-LANA antibody titers discriminated patients with KS from those with MCD and KS with 93% sensitivity and 83% specificity. These results suggest that antibody responses to lytic and latent KSHV antigens differ in these diseases.
Kaposi sarcoma (KS); multicentric Castleman’s disease (MCD) and primary effusion lymphoma; antibodies
Nucleic acid amplification tests are sensitive for identifying Mycobacterium tuberculosis in populations with positive sputum smears for acid-fast bacilli, but less sensitive in sputum-smear-negative populations. Few studies have evaluated the clinical impact of these tests in low-income countries with high burdens of TB and HIV.
We prospectively enrolled 211 consecutive adults with cough ≥2 weeks and negative sputum smears at Mulago Hospital in Kampala, Uganda. We tested a single early-morning sputum specimen for Mycobacterium tuberculosis DNA using two nucleic acid amplification tests: a novel in-house polymerase chain reaction targeting the mycobacterial secA1 gene, and the commercial Amplified® Mycobacterium tuberculosis Direct (MTD) test (Gen-Probe Inc, San Diego, CA). We calculated the diagnostic accuracy of these index tests in reference to a primary microbiologic gold standard (positive mycobacterial culture of sputum or bronchoalveolar lavage fluid), and measured their likely clinical impact on additional tuberculosis cases detected among those not prescribed initial TB treatment.
Of 211 patients enrolled, 170 (81%) were HIV-seropositive, with median CD4+ T-cell count 78 cells/µL (interquartile range 29-203). Among HIV-seropositive patients, 94 (55%) reported taking co-trimoxazole prophylaxis and 29 (17%) reported taking antiretroviral therapy. Seventy-five patients (36%) had culture-confirmed TB. Sensitivity of MTD was 39% (95% CI 28–51) and that of secA1 was 24% (95% CI 15–35). Both tests had specificities of 95% (95% CI 90–98). The MTD test correctly identified 18 (24%) TB patients not treated at discharge and led to a 72% relative increase in the smear-negative case detection rate.
The secA1 and MTD nucleic acid amplification tests had moderate sensitivity and high specificity for TB in a predominantly HIV-seropositive population with negative sputum smears. Although newer, more sensitive nucleic acid assays may enhance detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in sputum, even currently available tests can provide substantial clinical impact in smear-negative populations.
Better understanding of the epidemiology and transmission patterns of human Pneumocystis should lead to improved strategies for preventing Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP). We have developed a typing method for Pneumocystis jirovecii based on restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis following PCR amplification of an ~1300 bp region of the msg gene family, which comprises an estimated 50 to 100 genes/genome. The RFLP pattern was reproducible in samples containing >1,000 msg copies/reaction, and stable over time based on analysis of serial samples from the same patient. In our initial analysis of 48 samples, we found that samples obtained from different individuals showed distinct banding patterns; only samples obtained from the same patient showed an identical RFLP pattern. Despite this substantial diversity, samples tended to cluster based on country of origin. In evaluating samples obtained from an outbreak of PCP in kidney transplant patients in Germany, RFLP analysis demonstrated identical patterns in samples that were from 12 patients previously linked to this outbreak, as well as 2 additional patients. Our results highlight the presence of a remarkable diversity in human Pneumocystis strains. RFLP may be very useful for studying clusters of PCP in immunosuppressed patients, to determine if they have a common source.
Pneumocystis jirovecii; PCP; epidemiology; RFLP analysis