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1.  Cleavage/Alteration of Interleukin-8 by Matrix Metalloproteinase-9 in the Female Lower Genital Tract 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(1):e0116911.
Objective
Interleukin-8 (IL-8, CXCL8) plays important roles in immune responses at mucosal sites including in the lower genital tract. Since several types of bacteria produce proteases that cleave IL-8 and many types of bacteria can be present in lower genital tract microbiota, we assessed genital fluids for IL-8 cleavage/alteration.
Study Design
Genital fluids collected by lavage from 200 women (23 HIV-seronegative and 177 HIV-seropositive) were tested for IL-8 cleavage/alteration by ELISA.
Results
IL-8 cleaving/altering activity was observed in fluids from both HIV-positive (28%) and HIV-negative women (35%). There was no clear relationship between the activity and the types of bacteria present in the lower genital tract as determined by high-throughput sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene. Protease inhibitors specific for matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) reduced the activity and a multiplex assay that detects both inactive and active MMPs showed the presence of multiple MMPs, including MMP-1, -3, -7, -8, -9, -10 and -12 in genital secretions from many of the women. The IL-8-cleaving/altering activity significantly correlated with active MMP-9 as well as with cleavage of a substrate that is acted on by several active MMPs.
Conclusions
These studies show that multiple MMPs are present in the genital tract of women and strongly suggest that MMP-9 in genital secretions can cleave IL-8 at this mucosal site. These studies suggest that MMP-mediated cleavage of IL-8 can modulate inflammatory responses in the lower genital tract.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0116911
PMCID: PMC4303271  PMID: 25611319
2.  Comparison of Antibodies That Mediate HIV Type 1 gp120 Antibody-Dependent Cell-Mediated Cytotoxicity in Asymptomatic HIV Type 1-Positive Men and Women 
Abstract
Recent studies suggest that HIV-specific antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC) antibodies contribute to protective immunity against HIV. An important characteristic of future HIV vaccines will, therefore, be the ability to stimulate production of these antibodies in both men and women. Early studies suggest that men may have a better ADCC antibody response against HIV than women. Our objective was to determine whether men and women differ with respect to their ADCC response to HIV-1 gp120. HIV-positive, asymptomatic untreated men and women were matched for race, age, CD4+ T cell number, HIV-1 viral load, and treatment and HIV-1 gp120 ADCC antibody titers were compared. A standard 51Cr-release assay was used to determine HIV-1 gp120 ADCC antibody titers in HIV-1-seropositive individuals from the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS; n=32) and the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS; n=32). Both sexes had high ADCC titers against HIV-1 gp120: 34.4% (n=11) and 40.6% (n=13) of men and women, respectively, had titers of 10,000; 62.5% (n=20) and 56.3% (n=18) had titers of 100,000. Groups did not differ in percent specific release (% SR), lytic units (LU), correlations of titer to viral load, or titer to CD4+ T cells in men or women. Both groups also had similar cross-clade ADCC antibody responses (p>0.5 for % SR and LU). Comparable groups of asymptomatic HIV-1-infected men and women had comparable HIV-1 gp120 ADCC antibodies. Both sexes had significant cross-clade reactivity. Differences between men and women may become evident as disease progresses; this should be evaluated at later stages of HIV-1 infection.
doi:10.1089/aid.2012.0377
PMCID: PMC3887406  PMID: 23972002
3.  Anthropometric measures and cognition in middle-aged HIV-infected and uninfected women. The Women's Interagency HIV Study 
Journal of neurovirology  2013;19(6):574-585.
Objective
To explore the relationship of body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) with cognition in women with (HIV+) and without HIV (HIV-) infection.
Design/Methods
1690 participants (1196 HIV+, 494 HIV-) in the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) with data available on anthropometric measures comprise the analytical sample. Cross-sectional analyses using linear regression models estimated the relationship between anthropometric variables and Trails A, Trails B, Stroop interference time, Stroop word recall, Stroop color naming and reading, and Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT) with consideration for age, HIV infection status, Wide Range Achievement Test score, CD4 count, insulin resistance, drug use, and race/ethnicity.
Results
Among HIV+ women, BMI < 18.5 kg/m2 was associated with poorer cognitive performance evidenced by longer Trails A and Trails B and shorter SDMT completion times. An obese BMI (30 kg/m2 or higher) was related to better performance on Trails B and worse performance on the Stroop Interference test. Among HIV- women, an obese BMI was related to worse performance on the Stroop – Color naming test. Few and inconsistent associations were observed between WC, WHR and cognition.
Conclusion
Among women at mid-life with chronic (at least 10 years) HIV infection, common anthropometric measures, primarily BMI, were differentially related to cognitive test performance by cognitive domain. Higher levels of BMI were associated with better cognitive function. In this era of antiretroviral therapies, restoration of health evidenced as higher BMI due to effective antiretroviral therapies, may improve cognitive function in middle-aged HIV infected women.
doi:10.1007/s13365-013-0219-1
PMCID: PMC3957488  PMID: 24338243
Cognition; HIV; Women; Overweight; Obesity; Middle-Aged
4.  Serum biomarkers of immune activation and subsequent risk of non-Hodgkin B cell lymphoma among HIV-infected women 
Background
There is increasing evidence that chronic immune activation predisposes to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL). Whether this association exists among women representative of the current HIV epidemic in the U.S. who are at high risk of HIV-associated NHL (AIDS-NHL), remains to be determined.
Methods
We conducted a nested case-control study within the Women’s Interagency HIV Study with longitudinally collected risk factor data and sera. Cases were HIV-infected women with stored sera collected at three time-windows 3–5 years, 1–3 years, and 0–1 year prior to AIDS-NHL diagnosis (n=22). Three to six HIV-infected controls, without AIDS-NHL, were matched to each case on age, race, CD4+ T cell count, and study follow-up time (n=78). Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the association between one unit increase in log-transformed biomarker levels and AIDS-NHL were computed using random effect multivariate logistic regression models.
Results
Elevated levels of sCD27 (OR=7.21, 95% CI=2.62–19.88), sCD30 (OR=2.64, 95% CI=1.24–5.64), and CXCL13 (OR=2.56, 95% CI=1.32–4.96) were associated with subsequent diagnosis of AIDS-NHL overall. Elevated sCD23 was associated with a 2-to 4-fold increased risk of AIDS-NHL in certain subgroups, while elevated IL6 was associated with a 2-fold increased risk in the 0–1 year time-window, only.
Conclusion
These findings support the hypothesis that chronic B cell activation contributes to the development of AIDS-NHL in women.
Impact
sCD23, sCD27, sCD30, and CXCL13 may serve as biomarkers for AIDS-NHL.
doi:10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-13-0614
PMCID: PMC3833437  PMID: 24045923
lymphoma; B cell; cytokines; AIDS; immune activation
5.  Hepatitis C Viremia and the Risk of Chronic Kidney Disease in HIV-Infected Individuals 
Lucas, Gregory M. | Jing, Yuezhou | Sulkowski, Mark | Abraham, Alison G. | Estrella, Michelle M. | Atta, Mohamed G. | Fine, Derek M. | Klein, Marina B. | Silverberg, Michael J. | Gill, M. John | Moore, Richard D. | Gebo, Kelly A. | Sterling, Timothy R. | Butt, Adeel A. | Kirk, Gregory D. | Benson, Constance A. | Bosch, Ronald J. | Collier, Ann C. | Boswell, Stephen | Grasso, Chris | Mayer, Ken | Hogg, Robert S. | Harrigan, Richard | Montaner, Julio | Cescon, Angela | Brooks, John T. | Buchacz, Kate | Gebo, Kelly A. | Moore, Richard D. | Carey, John T. | Rodriguez, Benigno | Horberg, Michael A. | Silverberg, Michael J. | Horberg, Michael A. | Thorne, Jennifer E. | Goedert, James J. | Jacobson, Lisa P. | Klein, Marina B. | Rourke, Sean B. | Burchell, Ann | Rachlis, Anita R. | Rico, Puerto | Hunter-Mellado, Robert F. | Mayor, Angel M. | Gill, M. John | Deeks, Steven G. | Martin, Jeffrey N. | Patel, Pragna | Brooks, John T. | Saag, Michael S. | Mugavero, Michael J. | Willig, James | Eron, Joseph J. | Napravnik, Sonia | Kitahata, Mari M. | Crane, Heidi M. | Justice, Amy C. | Dubrow, Robert | Fiellin, David | Sterling, Timothy R. | Haas, David | Bebawy, Sally | Turner, Megan | Gange, Stephen J. | Anastos, Kathryn | Moore, Richard D. | Saag, Michael S. | Gange, Stephen J. | Kitahata, Mari M. | McKaig, Rosemary G. | Justice, Amy C. | Freeman, Aimee M. | Moore, Richard D. | Freeman, Aimee M. | Lent, Carol | Kitahata, Mari M. | Van Rompaey, Stephen E. | Crane, Heidi M. | Webster, Eric | Morton, Liz | Simon, Brenda | Gange, Stephen J. | Althoff, Keri N. | Abraham, Alison G. | Lau, Bryan | Zhang, Jinbing | Jing, Jerry | Golub, Elizabeth | Modur, Shari | Hanna, David B. | Rebeiro, Peter | Wong, Cherise | Mendes, Adell
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2013;208(8):1240-1249.
Background. The role of active hepatitis C virus (HCV) replication in chronic kidney disease (CKD) risk has not been clarified.
Methods. We compared CKD incidence in a large cohort of HIV-infected subjects who were HCV seronegative, HCV viremic (detectable HCV RNA), or HCV aviremic (HCV seropositive, undetectable HCV RNA). Stages 3 and 5 CKD were defined according to standard criteria. Progressive CKD was defined as a sustained 25% glomerular filtration rate (GFR) decrease from baseline to a GFR < 60 mL/min/1.73 m2. We used Cox models to calculate adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).
Results. A total of 52 602 HCV seronegative, 9508 HCV viremic, and 913 HCV aviremic subjects were included. Compared with HCV seronegative subjects, HCV viremic subjects were at increased risk for stage 3 CKD (adjusted HR 1.36 [95% CI, 1.26, 1.46]), stage 5 CKD (1.95 [1.64, 2.31]), and progressive CKD (1.31 [1.19, 1.44]), while HCV aviremic subjects were also at increased risk for stage 3 CKD (1.19 [0.98, 1.45]), stage 5 CKD (1.69 [1.07, 2.65]), and progressive CKD (1.31 [1.02, 1.68]).
Conclusions. Compared with HIV-infected subjects who were HCV seronegative, both HCV viremic and HCV aviremic individuals were at increased risk for moderate and advanced CKD.
doi:10.1093/infdis/jit373
PMCID: PMC3778973  PMID: 23904290
HIV; hepatitis C virus; chronic kidney disease; hepatitis C RNA; cohort study; glomerular filtration rate; injection drug use
6.  CCR2 on CD14+CD16+ monocytes is a biomarker of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders 
Objective:
To evaluate C-C chemokine receptor type 2 (CCR2) on monocyte subsets as a prognostic peripheral blood biomarker of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND).
Methods:
We characterized monocyte populations in HIV-infected individuals with and without HAND from 2 cohorts and assessed their transmigration across an in vitro model of the human blood-brain barrier (BBB). We examined CCR2 expression among the monocyte populations as a prognostic/predictive biomarker of HAND and its functional consequences in facilitating monocyte diapedesis.
Results:
We determined that CCR2 was significantly increased on CD14+CD16+ monocytes in individuals with HAND compared to infected people with normal cognition. CCR2 remained elevated irrespective of the severity of cognitive impairment, combined antiretroviral therapy status, viral load, and current or nadir CD4 T-cell count. There was no association between CCR2 on other monocyte populations and HAND. There was a functional consequence to the increase in CCR2, as CD14+CD16+ monocytes from individuals with HAND transmigrated across our model of the human BBB in significantly higher numbers in response to its ligand chemokine (C-C) motif ligand 2 (CCL2) compared to the cell migration that occurred in people with no cognitive deficits. It should be noted that our study had the limitation of a smaller sample size of unimpaired individuals. In contrast, there was no difference in the transmigration of other monocyte subsets across the BBB in response to CCL2 in seropositive individuals with or without HAND.
Conclusions:
Our findings indicate CCR2 on CD14+CD16+ monocytes is a novel peripheral blood biomarker of HAND.
doi:10.1212/NXI.0000000000000036
PMCID: PMC4204222  PMID: 25340088
7.  Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms in TrkB and Risk for Depression: Findings from the Women’s Interagency HIV Study 
Individuals infected with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV) are more likely than non-infected individuals to develop depression. HIV lowers brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a neurotrophic factor whose receptors play a crucial role in the pathophysiology of depression. Therefore, we examined whether a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the BDNF gene (rs56164415) and related receptors TrkB (rs1212171) and p75NTR (rs2072446) were associated with depression in HIV infected individuals. 1365 HIV positive and 371 HIV negative female subjects were included. The distribution of alleles was analyzed independently in African-Americans (non-Hispanic) and Caucasians (non-Hispanic). We have found that the absence of depressive symptoms in HIV positive subjects is associated with a genetic variation of the TrkB but not BDNF or p75NTR genes. This mutation explains 0.8% and 4.4% of the variability for the absence of depression in African-Americans and Caucasians, respectively.
doi:10.1097/QAI.0b013e3182a468e9
PMCID: PMC3780967  PMID: 24047966
association studies; BDNF; HIV-1; p75NTR; rs1212171; rs2072446
8.  The Impact of HIV Status, HIV Disease Progression and Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms on the Health-Related Quality of Life of Rwandan Women Genocide Survivors 
Purpose
We examined whether established associations between HIV disease and HIV disease progression on worse health-related quality of life (HQOL) were applicable to women with severe trauma histories, in this case Rwandan women genocide survivors, the majority of whom were HIV infected. Additionally, this study attempted to clarify whether post-traumatic stress symptoms were uniquely associated with HQOL or confounded with depression.
Methods
The Rwandan Women’s Interassociation Study and Assessment (RWISA) was a longitudinal prospective study of HIV-infected and uninfected women. At study entry 922 women (705 HIV+ and 217 HIV−) completed measures of symptoms of post-traumatic stress and HQOL as well as other demographic, clinical and behavioral characteristics.
Results
Even after controlling for potential confounders and mediators, HIV+ women, in particular those with the lowest CD4 counts, scored significantly worse on HQOL and overall QOL than did HIV− women. Even after controlling for depression and HIV disease progression, women with more post-traumatic stress symptoms scored worse on HQOL and overall QOL than women with fewer post-traumatic stress symptoms.
Conclusions
This study demonstrated that post-traumatic stress symptoms were independently associated with HQOL and overall QOL, independent of depression and other confounders or potential mediators. Future research should examine whether the long term impact of treatment on physical and psychological symptoms of HIV and post-traumatic stress symptoms would generate improvement in HQOL.
doi:10.1007/s11136-012-0328-y
PMCID: PMC4084826  PMID: 23271207
Quality of Life; Posttraumatic Stress Disorder; HIV; Women; Rwanda
9.  Food Insecurity with Hunger Is Associated with Obesity among HIV-Infected and at Risk Women in Bronx, NY 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e105957.
Background
Food insecurity, insufficient quality and quantity of nutritionally adequate food, affects millions of people in the United States (US) yearly, with over 18 million Americans reporting hunger. Food insecurity is associated with obesity in the general population. Due to the increasing prevalence of obesity and risk factors for cardiovascular disease among HIV-infected women, we sought to determine the relationship between food insecurity and obesity in this cohort of urban, HIV-infected and –uninfected but at risk women.
Methods
Using a cross-sectional design, we collected data on food insecurity, body mass index and demographic and clinical data from 231 HIV-infected and 119 HIV-negative women enrolled in Bronx site of the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS). We used multivariate logistic regression to identify factors associated with obesity.
Results
Food insecurity was highly prevalent, with almost one third of women (110/350, 31%) reporting food insecurity over the previous six months and over 13% of women reported food insecurity with hunger. Over half the women were obese with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of ≥30. In multivariate analyses, women who were food insecure with hunger had higher odds of obesity (Adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 2.56, 95% Confidence Interval [CI] = 1.27, 5.20) after adjusting for HIV status, age, race, household status, income, drug and alcohol use.
Conclusion
Food insecurity with hunger was associated with obesity in this population of HIV-infected and –uninfected, urban women. Both food insecurity and obesity are independent markers for increased mortality; further research is needed to understand this relationship and their role in adverse health outcomes.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0105957
PMCID: PMC4146558  PMID: 25162598
10.  Plasma and Mucosal HIV Viral Loads Are Associated with Genital Tract Inflammation In HIV-Infected Women 
Background
Systemic and mucosal inflammation may play a role in HIV control. A cross-sectional comparison was conducted among women in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) to explore the hypothesis that compared to HIV-uninfected participants, women with HIV and in particular, those with high plasma viral load (PVL) have increased levels of mucosal and systemic inflammatory mediators and impaired mucosal endogenous antimicrobial activity.
Methods
19 HIV-uninfected, 40 HIV-infected on antiretroviral therapy (ART) with PVL ≤ 2600 copies/ml (low viral load) (HIV+-LVL), and 19 HIV-infected on or off ART with PVL >10,000 (high viral load) (HIV+-HVL) were evaluated. Immune mediators and viral RNA were quantified in plasma and cervicovaginal lavage (CVL). CVL antimicrobial activity was also determined.
Results
Compared to HIV-uninfected, HIV+-HVL women had higher levels of mucosal, but not systemic pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines, higher Nugent scores, and lower E. coli bactericidal activity. In contrast, there were no significant differences between HIV+-LVL and HIV-uninfected controls. After adjusting for PVL, HIV genital tract shedding was significantly associated with higher CVL concentrations of IL-6, IL-1β, MIP-1α, and RANTES and higher plasma concentrations of MIP-1α. High PVL was associated with higher CVL levels of IL-1β and RANTES, as well as with higher Nugent scores, lower E. coli bactericidal activity, smoking and lower CD4 counts; smoking and CD4 count retained statistical significance in a multivariate model.
Conclusion
Further study is needed to determine if the relationship between mucosal inflammation and PVL is causal and to determine if reducing mucosal inflammation is beneficial.
doi:10.1097/QAI.0b013e3182961cfc
PMCID: PMC3706034  PMID: 23591635
HIV; HSV; mucosal immunity; inflammation; female genital tract; WIHS
11.  Epigenetic analysis of HIV-1 proviral genomes from infected individuals: Predominance of unmethylated CpG’s 
Virology  2013;449:181-189.
Efforts to cure HIV-1 infections aim at eliminating proviral DNA. Integrated DNA from various viruses often becomes methylated de novo and transcriptionally inactivated. We therefore investigated CpG methylation profiles of 55 of 94 CpG’s (58.5%) in HIV-1 proviral genomes including ten CpG’s in each LTR and additional CpG’s in portions of gag, env, nef, rev, and tat genes. We analyzed 33 DNA samples from PBMC’s of 23 subjects representing a broad spectrum of HIV-1 disease. In 22 of 23 HIV-1-infected individuals, there were only unmethylated CpG’s regardless of infection status. In one long term nonprogressor, however, methylation of proviral DNA varied between 0 and 75% over an 11-year period although the CD4+ counts remained stable. Hence levels of proviral DNA methylation can fluctuate. The preponderance of unmethylated CpG’s suggests that proviral methylation is not a major factor in regulating HIV-1 proviral activity in PBMC’s. Unmethylated CpG’s may play a role in HIV-1 immunopathogenesis.
doi:10.1016/j.virol.2013.11.013
PMCID: PMC4060985  PMID: 24418551
Epigenetics of HIV-1 proviral DNA; Integrated HIV-1 DNA in PBMC’s from infected individuals; Wide spectrum of infection outcome; Bisulfite sequencing; Methylation analysis of integrated HIV-1 genomes; Predominance of unmethylated CpG’s in PBMC’s; Escape from proviral DNA methylation; Fluctuation of CpG methylation in one LTNP individual
12.  Molecular Epidemiology of HIV Type 1 Subtypes in Rwanda 
Abstract
HIV-1 infection is characterized by genetic diversity, with multiple subtypes and recombinant variants circulating, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. During the Rwandan genocide, many women experienced multiple rapes and some became HIV-1 infected. We studied plasma and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from 30 infected women comprising two exposure groups: those with numerous contacts, raped multiple times, and women with one lifetime sexual partner and no history of rape. Population-based sequences from gag, pol, and env genes were analyzed to determine HIV-1 subtypes and intersubtype recombination. Individual plasma-derived variants from 12 women were also analyzed. Subtype A was found in 24/30 (80%), intersubtype recombination (AC and AD) in 4/30 (13%), and subtypes C and D in 1/30 each. In two subjects, the pattern of HIV-1 recombination differed between plasma and PBMC-derived sequences. Intersubtype recombination was common, although there were no significant differences in subtype or recombination rates between exposure groups.
doi:10.1089/aid.2012.0095
PMCID: PMC3653399  PMID: 23458210
13.  Treatment-related changes in serum lipids and inflammation: clinical relevance remains unclear. Analyses from the Women's Interagency HIV Study 
AIDS (London, England)  2013;27(9):1516-1519.
Summary
Among 127 HIV-infected women, the magnitude of HDLc increases after HAART initiation predicted the magnitude of concurrent decreases in inflammation biomarkers. After HAART initiation, changes in LDLc and inflammation were unrelated. In the same population, predicted risk of coronary heart disease based upon levels of standard clinical risk factors was similar before and after HAART treatment. Thus, it remains unknown whether short-term treatment-related changes in standard risk factors may appreciably change risk of CVD.
doi:10.1097/QAD.0b013e32835fd8a9
PMCID: PMC3909663  PMID: 23435295
lipids; HAART; HIV infection; inflammation
14.  Do HIV-Positive Women Receive Depression Treatment that Meets Best Practice Guidelines? 
AIDS and behavior  2014;18(6):1094-1102.
This study addressed whether psychopharmacologic and psychotherapeutic treatment of depressed HIV+ women met standards defined in the best practice literature, and tested hypothesized predictors of standard-concordant care. 1,352 HIV-positive women in the multi-center Women’s Interagency HIV Study were queried about depressive symptoms and mental health service utilization using standards published by the American Psychiatric Association and the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research to define adequate depression treatment. We identified those who: 1) reported clinically significant depressive symptoms (CSDS) using Centers for Epidemiological Studies – Depression Scale (CES-D) scores of ≥ 16; or 2) had lifetime diagnoses of major depressive disorder (MDD) assessed by World Mental Health Composite International Diagnostic Interviews plus concurrent elevated depressive symptoms in the past 12 months. Adequate treatment prevalence was 46.2% (n=84) for MDD and 37.9% (n=211) for CSDS. Multivariable logistic regression analysis found that adequate treatment was more likely among women who saw the same primary care provider consistently, who had poorer role functioning, who paid out-of-pocket for healthcare, and who were not African American or Hispanic/Latina. This suggests that adequate depression treatment may be increased by promoting healthcare provider continuity, outreaching individuals with lower levels of role impairment, and addressing the specific needs and concerns of African American and Hispanic/Latina women.
doi:10.1007/s10461-013-0679-6
PMCID: PMC4020946  PMID: 24402689
Women and HIV; Depression Treatment; Psychopharmacology; Psychotherapy
15.  Comparison of Lower Genital Tract Microbiota in HIV-Infected and Uninfected Women from Rwanda and the US 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e96844.
Introduction
Previous studies have shown that alterations of the bacterial microbiota in the lower female genital tract influence susceptibility to HIV infection and shedding. We assessed geographic differences in types of genital microbiota between HIV-infected and uninfected women from Rwanda and the United States.
Methods
Genera of lower genital tract bacterial microbiota were identified by high-throughput pyrosequencing of the 16S rRNA gene from 46 US women (36 HIV-infected, 10 HIV-uninfected) and 40 Rwandan women (18 HIV-infected, 22 HIV-uninfected) with similar proportions of low (0–3) Nugent scores. Species of Lactobacillus were identified by assembling sequences along with reference sequences into phylogenetic trees. Prevalence of genera and Lactobacillus species were compared using Fisher's exact tests.
Results
Overall the seven most prevalent genera were Lactobacillus (74%), Prevotella (56%), Gardnerella (55%), Atopobium (42%), Sneathia (37%), Megasphaera (30%), and Parvimonas (26%), observed at similar prevalences comparing Rwandan to US women, except for Megasphaera (20% vs. 39%, p = 0.06). Additionally, Rwandan women had higher frequencies of Mycoplasma (23% vs. 7%, p = 0.06) and Eggerthella (13% vs. 0%, p = 0.02), and lower frequencies of Lachnobacterium (8% vs. 35%, p<0.01) and Allisonella (5% vs. 30%, p<0.01), compared with US women. The prevalence of Mycoplasma was highest (p<0.05) in HIV-infected Rwandan women (39%), compared to HIV-infected US women (6%), HIV-uninfected Rwandan (9%) and US (10%) women. The most prevalent lactobacillus species in both Rwandan and US women was L. iners (58% vs. 76%, p = 0.11), followed by L. crispatus (28% vs. 30%, p = 0.82), L. jensenii (20% vs. 24%, p = 0.80), L. gasseri (20% vs. 11%, p = 0.37) and L. vaginalis (20% vs. 7%, p = 0.10).
Discussion
We found similar prevalence of most major bacterial genera and Lactobacillus species in Rwandan and US women. Further work will be needed to establish whether observed differences differentially impact lower genital tract health or susceptibility to genital infections.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0096844
PMCID: PMC4016010  PMID: 24817204
16.  Illicit Drug Use, Depression and their Association with Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy in HIV-Positive Women 
Drug and alcohol dependence  2007;89(1):74-81.
Background
We examined the interaction of illicit drug use and depressive symptoms, and how they affect the subsequent likelihood of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) use among women with HIV/AIDS.
Methods
Subjects included 1,710 HIV-positive women recruited from six sites in the U.S. including Brooklyn, Bronx, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco/Bay Area, and Washington, DC. Cases of probable depression were identified using depressive symptom scores on the Centers for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale. Crack, cocaine, heroin, and amphetamine use were self-reported at 6-month time intervals. We conducted multivariate logistic random regression analysis of data collected during sixteen waves of semiannual interviews conducted from April 1996 through March 2004.
Results
We found an interaction effect between illicit drug use and depression that acted to suppress subsequent HAART use, controlling for virologic and immunologic indicators, socio-demographic variables, time, and study site.
Conclusions
This is the first study to document the interactive effects of drug use and depressive symptoms on reduced likelihood of HAART use in a national cohort of women. Since evidence-based behavioral health and antiretroviral therapies for each of these three conditions are now available, comprehensive HIV treatment is an achievable public health goal.
doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2006.12.002
PMCID: PMC4009351  PMID: 17291696
HIV; depression; HAART; drug use
17.  HIV and Recent Illicit Drug Use Interact to Affect Verbal Memory in Women 
Objective
HIV infection and illicit drug use are each associated with diminished cognitive performance. This study examined the separate and interactive effects of HIV and recent illicit drug use on verbal memory, processing speed and executive function in the multicenter Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS).
Methods
Participants included 952 HIV-infected and 443 HIV-uninfected women (mean age=42.8, 64% African-American). Outcome measures included the Hopkins Verbal Learning Test - Revised (HVLT-R) and the Stroop test. Three drug use groups were compared: recent illicit drug users (cocaine or heroin use in past 6 months, n=140), former users (lifetime cocaine or heroin use but not in past 6 months, n=651), and non-users (no lifetime use of cocaine or heroin, n=604).
Results
The typical pattern of recent drug use was daily or weekly smoking of crack cocaine. HIV infection and recent illicit drug use were each associated with worse verbal learning and memory (p's<.05). Importantly, there was an interaction between HIV serostatus and recent illicit drug use such that recent illicit drug use (compared to non-use) negatively impacted verbal learning and memory only in HIV-infected women (p's <0.01). There was no interaction between HIV serostatus and illicit drug use on processing speed or executive function on the Stroop test.
Conclusion
The interaction between HIV serostatus and recent illicit drug use on verbal learning and memory suggests a potential synergistic neurotoxicity that may affect the neural circuitry underlying performance on these tasks.
doi:10.1097/QAI.0b013e318289565c
PMCID: PMC3628722  PMID: 23392462
18.  Antiretroviral-Treated HIV-Infected Women Have Similar Long-Term Kidney Function Trajectories as HIV-Uninfected Women 
Abstract
Natural history studies suggest increased risk for kidney function decline with HIV infection, but few studies have made comparisons with HIV-uninfected women. We examined whether HIV infection treated with highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) remains associated with faster kidney function decline in the Women's Interagency HIV Study. HIV-infected women initiating HAART with (n=105) or without (n=373) tenofovir (TDF) were matched to HIV-uninfected women on calendar and length of follow-up, age, systolic blood pressure, hepatitis C antibody serostatus, and diabetes history. Linear mixed models were used to evaluate differences in annual estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR). Person-visits were 4,741 and 11,512 for the TDF-treated and non-TDF-treated analyses, respectively. Mean baseline eGFRs were higher among women initiated on TDF-containing HAART and lower among those on TDF-sparing HAART compared to their respective HIV-uninfected matches (p<0.05 for both). HIV-infected women had annual rates of eGFR changes similar to HIV-uninfected matches (p-interaction >0.05 for both). Adjusting for baseline eGFR, mean eGFRs at 1 and 3 years of follow-up among women initiated on TDF-containing HAART were lower than their uninfected matches (−4.98 and −4.26 ml/min/1.73 m2, respectively; p<0.05 for both). Mean eGFR of women initiated on TDF-sparing HAART was lower versus uninfected matches at 5 years (–2.19 ml/min/1.73 m2, p=0.03). HAART-treated HIV-infected women had lower mean eGFRs at follow-up but experienced rates of annual eGFR decline similar to HIV-uninfected women. Tenofovir use in HIV-infected women with normal kidney function did not accelerate long-term kidney function decline relative to HIV-uninfected women.
doi:10.1089/aid.2012.0248
PMCID: PMC3636577  PMID: 23273313
19.  Trends and Disparities in Antiretroviral Therapy Initiation and Virologic Suppression Among Newly Treatment-Eligible HIV-Infected Individuals in North America, 2001–2009 
Hanna, David B. | Buchacz, Kate | Gebo, Kelly A. | Hessol, Nancy A. | Horberg, Michael A. | Jacobson, Lisa P. | Kirk, Gregory D. | Kitahata, Mari M. | Korthuis, P. Todd | Moore, Richard D. | Napravnik, Sonia | Patel, Pragna | Silverberg, Michael J. | Sterling, Timothy R. | Willig, James H. | Lau, Bryan | Althoff, Keri N. | Crane, Heidi M. | Collier, Ann C. | Samji, Hasina | Thorne, Jennifer E. | Gill, M. John | Klein, Marina B. | Martin, Jeffrey N. | Rodriguez, Benigno | Rourke, Sean B. | Gange, Stephen J. | Benson, A. | Bosch, Ronald J. | Collier, Ann C. | Boswell, Stephen | Grasso, Chris | Mayer, Ken | Hogg, Robert S. | Harrigan, Richard | Montaner, Julio | Cescon, Angela | Brooks, John T. | Buchacz, Kate | Gebo, Kelly A. | Moore, Richard D. | Rodriguez, Benigno | Horberg, Michael A. | Silverberg, Michael J. | Thorne, Jennifer E. | Goedert, James J. | Jacobson, Lisa P. | Klein, Marina B. | Rourke, Sean B. | Burchell, Ann | Rachlis, Anita R. | Hunter-Mellado, Robert F. | Mayor, Angel M. | Gill, M. John | Deeks, Steven G. | Martin, Jeffrey N. | Saag, Michael S. | Mugavero, Michael J. | Willig, James | Eron, Joseph J. | Napravnik, Sonia | Kitahata, Mari M. | Crane, Heidi M. | Justice, Amy C. | Dubrow, Robert | Fiellin, David | Sterling, Timothy R. | Haas, David | Bebawy, Sally | Turner, Megan | Gange, Stephen J. | Anastos, Kathryn | Moore, Richard D. | Saag, Michael S. | Gange, Stephen J. | Kitahata, Mari M. | McKaig, Rosemary G. | Justice, Amy C. | Freeman, Aimee M. | Moore, Richard D. | Freeman, Aimee M. | Lent, Carol | Platt, Aaron | Kitahata, Mari M. | Van Rompaey, Stephen E. | Crane, Heidi M. | Webster, Eric | Morton, Liz | Simon, Brenda | Gange, Stephen J. | Abraham, Alison G. | Lau, Bryan | Althoff, Keri N. | Zhang, Jinbing | Jing, Jerry | Golub, Elizabeth | Modur, Shari | Hanna, David B. | Rebeiro, Peter | Wong, Cherise | Mendes, Adell
In the last decade, timely initiation of antiretroviral therapy and resulting virologic suppression have greatly improved in North America concurrent with the development of better tolerated and more potent regimens, but significant barriers to treatment uptake remain.
Background. Since the mid-1990s, effective antiretroviral therapy (ART) regimens have improved in potency, tolerability, ease of use, and class diversity. We sought to examine trends in treatment initiation and resulting human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) virologic suppression in North America between 2001 and 2009, and demographic and geographic disparities in these outcomes.
Methods. We analyzed data on HIV-infected individuals newly clinically eligible for ART (ie, first reported CD4+ count <350 cells/µL or AIDS-defining illness, based on treatment guidelines during the study period) from 17 North American AIDS Cohort Collaboration on Research and Design cohorts. Outcomes included timely ART initiation (within 6 months of eligibility) and virologic suppression (≤500 copies/mL, within 1 year). We examined time trends and considered differences by geographic location, age, sex, transmission risk, race/ethnicity, CD4+ count, and viral load, and documented psychosocial barriers to ART initiation, including non–injection drug abuse, alcohol abuse, and mental illness.
Results. Among 10 692 HIV-infected individuals, the cumulative incidence of 6-month ART initiation increased from 51% in 2001 to 72% in 2009 (Ptrend < .001). The cumulative incidence of 1-year virologic suppression increased from 55% to 81%, and among ART initiators, from 84% to 93% (both Ptrend < .001). A greater number of psychosocial barriers were associated with decreased ART initiation, but not virologic suppression once ART was initiated. We found significant heterogeneity by state or province of residence (P < .001).
Conclusions. In the last decade, timely ART initiation and virologic suppression have greatly improved in North America concurrent with the development of better-tolerated and more potent regimens, but significant barriers to treatment uptake remain, both at the individual level and systemwide.
doi:10.1093/cid/cit003
PMCID: PMC3657490  PMID: 23315317
antiretroviral therapy; healthcare disparities; HIV; time factors; viral load
20.  Tenofovir use and urinary biomarkers among HIV-infected women in the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) 
Background
Tenofovir has been associated with renal tubular injury. Biomarkers that signal early tubular dysfunction are needed because creatinine rise lags behind tenofovir-associated kidney dysfunction. We examined several urinary biomarkers to determine if rises accompanying tenofovir initiation preceded creatinine changes.
Methods
Three urinary biomarkers of tubular impairment- neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL), N-acetyl- β -D-glucosaminidase (NAG), and β-2-microglobulin (β2MG)-were measured across three time points (one pre-tenofovir visit and two post tenofovir visits) in one hundred and thirty two HIV-positive women from the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS). Women initiating HAART containing tenofovir were propensity score matched to women initiating HAART without tenofovir and women not on HAART.
Results
There were no differences between groups for NGAL or NAG but β2MG was 19 times more likely to be elevated among tenofovir users at the 2nd post tenofovir visit compared to non-TDF users at the pre-tenofovir visit (p<0.01). History of proteinuria was associated with elevated NGAL (p <0.01). Factors associated with elevated NAG were GFR<60 ml/min, history of proteinuria, hepatitis C (p<0.01 for all) and diabetes mellitus (p=0.05). Factors associated with increased odds of elevated β2MG were HIV RNA>100,000 copies/ml, hepatitis C, boosted protease inhibitor (PI) use, and GFR<60 ml/min (p≤0.01 for all).
Conclusions
β2MG levels are elevated in women on tenofovir indicating probable early renal dysfunction. Biomarker elevation is additionally associated with baseline chronic kidney disease, uncontrolled viremia, and boosted PI use. Future studies are needed to explore urinary biomarker thresholds in identifying treated HIV-infected individuals at risk for renal dysfunction.
doi:10.1097/QAI.0b013e31828175c9
PMCID: PMC3692572  PMID: 23254151
Tenofovir; urinary biomarkers; HIV infected women
21.  Limited Nucleotide Changes in the Rev Response Element (RRE) during HIV-1 Infection Alter Overall Rev-RRE Activity and Rev Multimerization 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(20):11173-11186.
HIV-1 Rev and the Rev response element (RRE) enable a critical step in the viral replication cycle by facilitating the nuclear export of intron-containing mRNAs, yet their activities have rarely been analyzed in natural infections. This study characterized their genetic and functional variation in a small cohort of HIV-infected individuals. Multiple Rev and RRE sequences were obtained using single-genome sequencing (SGS) of plasma samples collected within 6 months after seroconversion and at a later time. This allowed the identification of cognate sequences that were linked in vivo in the same viral genome and acted together as a functional unit. Phylogenetic analyses of these sequences indicated that 4/5 infections were founded by a single transmission event. Rev and RRE variants from each time point were subjected to functional analysis as both cognate pairs and as individual components. While a range of Rev-RRE activities were seen, the activity of cognate pairs from a single time point clustered to a discrete level, which was termed the set point. In 3/5 patients, this set point changed significantly over the time period studied. In all patients, RRE activity was more sensitive to sequence variation than Rev activity and acted as the primary driver of the cognate set point. Selected patient RREs were also shown to have differences in Rev multimerization using gel shift binding assays. Thus, rather than acting as a simple on-off switch or maintaining a constant level of activity throughout infection, the Rev-RRE system can fluctuate, presumably to control replication.
doi:10.1128/JVI.01392-13
PMCID: PMC3807272  PMID: 23926352
22.  Does HIV infection promote early kidney injury in women? 
Antiviral therapy  2013;19(1):79-87.
Background
In HIV-infected women, urine concentrations of novel tubulointerstitial injury markers, interleukin-18 (IL-18) and kidney injury marker-1 (KIM-1) are associated with kidney function decline and all-cause mortality. We hypothesized that HIV-infected individuals with preserved kidney filtration function would have more extensive kidney injury, as determined by urine injury markers, compared to the uninfected controls, and that risk factors for tubulointerstitial injury would differ from risk factors for albuminuria.
Methods
In this cross-sectional study, we compared urine concentrations of IL-18, KIM-1, and ACR in 908 HIV-infected and 289 HIV-uninfected women enrolled in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study, utilizing stored urine specimens from visits between 1999 and 2000.
Results
After multivariate-adjusted linear regression analysis, mean urine concentrations were higher in HIV-infected individuals by 38% for IL-18 (p<0.0001), 12% for KIM-1 (p=0.081), and 47% for ACR (p<0.0001). Higher HIV RNA level (15% per 10-fold increase, p<0.0001), lower CD4 count (8% per doubling, p=0.0025), HCV infection (30%, p=0.00018), and lower HDL (5% per 10 mg/dL, p=0.0024) were each associated with higher IL-18 concentrations. In contrast, hypertension (81%, p<0.0001) and diabetes (47%, p=0.018) were among the strongest predictors of higher ACR, though HIV RNA level (15% per 10-fold increase, p=0.0004) was also associated with higher ACR.
Conclusions
HIV-infected women had more extensive tubulointerstitial and glomerular injury than uninfected women, but the associated factors differed among the urine biomarkers. Combinations of urinary biomarkers should be investigated to further characterize early kidney injury in HIV-infected women.
doi:10.3851/IMP2677
PMCID: PMC3933452  PMID: 23970313
23.  Underlying genetic structure impacts the association between CYP2B6 polymorphisms and response to efavirenz and nevirapine 
AIDS (London, England)  2012;26(16):2097-2106.
Objective
CYP2B6 variation predicts pharmacokinetic characteristics of its substrates. Consideration for underlying genetic structure is critical to protect against spurious associations with the highly polymorphic CYP2B6 gene.
Design
The effect of CYP2B6 variation on response to its substrates, nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs), was explored in the Women's Interagency HIV Study.
Methods
Five putative functional polymorphisms were tested for associations with virologic suppression within one year after NNRTI initiation in women naïve to antiretroviral agents (n=91). Principal components (PCs) were generated to control for population substructure. Logistic regression was used to test the joint effect of rs3745274 and rs28399499, which together indicate slow, intermediate, and extensive metabolizers.
Results
Rs3745274 was significantly associated with virologic suppression (OR=3.61, 95% CI 1.16-11.22, p trend=0.03); the remaining polymorphisms tested were not significantly associated with response. Women classified as intermediate and slow metabolizers were 2.90 (95% CI 0.79-12.28) and 13.44 (95% CI 1.66-infinity) times as likely to achieve virologic suppression compared to extensive metabolizers after adjustment for PCs (p trend=0.005). Failure to control for genetic ancestry resulted in substantial confounding of the relationship between the metabolizer phenotype and treatment response.
Conclusion
The CYP2B6 metabolizer phenotype was significantly associated with virologic response to NNRTIs; this relationship would have been masked by simple adjustment for self-reported ethnicity. Given the appreciable genetic heterogeneity that exists within self-reported ethnicity, these results exemplify the importance of characterizing underlying genetic structure in pharmacogenetic studies. Further follow-up of the CYP2B6 metabolizer phenotype is warranted given the potential clinical importance of this finding.
doi:10.1097/QAD.0b013e3283593602
PMCID: PMC3940150  PMID: 22951632
CYP2B6; population substructure; women; NNRTIs; confounding
24.  Association Of Hepatitis C With Markers Of Hemostasis In HIV-Infected and Uninfected Women in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) 
Coinfection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) is common. HIV infection and treatment are associated with hypercoaguability; thrombosis in HCV is under-investigated. Proposed markers of hemostasis in HIV include higher D-dimer, Factor VIII% and Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor-1 (PAI-1Ag), and lower total Protein S% (TPS), but have not been examined in HCV. We assessed the independent association of HCV with these four measures of hemostasis in a multicenter, prospective study of HIV: the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS).
We randomly selected 450 HCV-infected (anti-HCV+ with detectable plasma HCV RNA) and 450 HCV-uninfected (anti-HCV−) women. HCV was the main exposure of interest in regression models.
443 HCV+ and 425 HCV− women were included. HCV+ women had higher Factor VIII% (124.4% ±3.9 vs. 101.8% ±3.7, p <0.001) and lower TPS (75.7% ±1.1 vs. 84.3% ±1.1, <0.001) than HCV−, independent of HIV infection and viral load; there was little difference in PAI-1Ag or log10 D-dimer. After adjustment for confounders, these inferences remained. HIV infection was independently associated with higher Factor VIII% and log10 D-dimer, and lower TPS.
HCV was independently associated with higher Factor VIII% and lower TPS consistent with hypercoaguability. Higher Factor VIII % and D-dimer and lower total Protein S % were also strongly associated with HIV infection and levels of HIV viremia, independent of HCV infection. Further investigation is needed to determine if there is increased thrombotic risk from HCV. Studies examining hemostasis markers in HIV infection must also assess the contribution of HCV infection.
doi:10.1097/QAI.0b013e31827fdd61
PMCID: PMC3652915  PMID: 23221984
25.  Risk of exposure to HIV differs according to catechol-o-methyltransferase Val158Met genotype 
AIDS (London, England)  2013;27(11):1779-1782.
The Met allele of the catechol-o-methyltransferase (COMT) Val158Met polymorphism is associated with increased cortical dopamine and risk behaviors including illicit drug use and unprotected sex. Therefore, we examined whether or not the distribution of the Val158Met genotype differed between HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected women. We conducted an Armitage-Cochran Test and logistic regression to compare genotype frequencies between 1,848 HIV-infected and 612 HIV-uninfected women from the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS). The likelihood of carrying one or two Met alleles was greater in HIV-infected women (61%) compared to HIV-uninfected women (54%), Z = −3.60, p < 0.001. We report the novel finding of an association between the Val158Met genotype and HIV serostatus that may be mediated through the impact of dopamine function on propensity for risk-taking.
doi:10.1097/QAD.0b013e328361c6a1
PMCID: PMC3897122  PMID: 23807274

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