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1.  Acute HIV-1 Infection in the Southeastern United States: A Cohort Study 
In 1998 a collaboration between Duke University and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (UNC) was founded to enhance identification of persons with acute HIV-1 infection (AHI). The Duke-UNC AHI Research Consortium Cohort consists of patients ≥18 years old with a positive nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) and either a negative enzyme immunoassay (EIA) test or a positive EIA with a negative/indeterminate Western blot. Patients were referred to the cohort from acute care settings and state-funded HIV testing sites that use NAAT testing on pooled HIV-1 antibody-negative samples. Between 1998 and 2010, 155 patients with AHI were enrolled: 81 (52%) African-Americans, 63 (41%) white, non-Hispanics, 137 (88%) males, 108 (70%) men who have sex with men (MSM), and 18 (12%) females. The median age was 27 years (IQR 22–38). Most (n=138/155) reported symptoms with a median duration of 17.5 days. The median nadir CD4 count was 408 cells/mm3 (IQR 289–563); the median observed peak HIV-1 level was 726,859 copies/ml (IQR 167,585–3,565,728). The emergency department was the most frequent site of initial presentation (n=55/152; 3 missing data). AHI diagnosis was made at time of first contact in 62/137 (45%; 18 missing data) patients. This prospectively enrolled cohort is the largest group of patients with AHI reported from the Southeastern United States. The demographics reflect the epidemic of this geographic area with a high proportion of African-Americans, including young black MSM. Highlighting the challenges of diagnosing AHI, less than half of the patients were diagnosed at the first healthcare visit. Women made up a small proportion despite increasing numbers in our clinics.
PMCID: PMC3537297  PMID: 22839749
2.  Eradication Therapies for HIV Infection: Time to Begin Again 
Despite the success of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in decreasing mortality for HIV-1-infected patients, ART has not cured the disease. A persistent viral reservoir in the T cells of HIV patients receiving potent ART is a significant barrier preventing eradication of HIV infection. We will briefly review what is known about the mechanisms that establish and maintain persistent HIV infection despite ART, to create a framework in which to consider approaches to the clearance or eradication of infection (“cure”), or to allow clinical stability in the absence of ART (“functional cure”). With regard to eradication therapies, it could be said that as a field our position is analogous to that of ART early in the HIV pandemic. As then we must now simultaneously develop and optimize platforms and paradigms for the discovery and testing of eradication therapies, and begin to advance candidate therapies toward human testing.
PMCID: PMC3065332  PMID: 21314240
3.  Treatment with Recombinant Growth Hormone Is Associated with Modest Improvement in CD4 Lymphocyte Reconstitution in HIV-Infected Persons on Antiretroviral Therapy: Results of ACTG A5174 
Pilot studies have suggested that treatment with recombinant human growth hormone (rhGH) is associated with increased T-lymphocyte restoration and enhanced thymic output. We evaluated the immunologic effects of rhGH on HIV+ subjects with incomplete immune reconstitution on antiretroviral therapy (ART). Sixty subjects were randomized to receive rhGH 1.5 mg scqd and ART for 48 weeks (Arm A) or continue ART alone for 24 weeks then add rhGH 3.0 mg scqd for 24 weeks (Arm B). Median baseline CD4 for Arms A and B were 223 and 219, respectively. There was little difference between Arm A and Arm B in change in total or naive CD4 cells or percentage from baseline to week 24. Only one subject in Arm A met the primary endpoint, an increase in naive CD4 percentage of at least 10 percentage points. By week 48 both Arms had statistically significant increases in naive CD4 cell count and percentage and thymus size. Within Arm B, treatment with rhGH was associated with significant increases in naive CD4+ cell count and percentage compared with ART alone. Treatment with rhGH +ART may be associated with modest increases in CD4 lymphocytes over ART alone in subjects with CD4 <350, yet the origin of these naive cells and their impact on immune function require further investigation
PMCID: PMC2864047  PMID: 20415638
4.  Expression of Latent HIV Induced by the Potent HDAC Inhibitor Suberoylanilide Hydroxamic Acid 
Histone deacetylases (HDACs) act on histones within the nucleosome-bound promoter of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) to maintain proviral latency. HDAC inhibition leads to promoter expression and the escape of HIV from latency. We evaluated the ability of the potent inhibitor recently licensed for use in oncology, suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA; Vorinostat), selective for Class I HDACs, to induce HIV promoter expression in cell lines and virus production from the resting CD4+ T cells of antiretroviral-treated, aviremic HIV-infected patients. In J89, a Jurkat T cell line infected with a single HIV genome encoding the enhanced green fluorescence protein (EGFP) within the HIV genome, SAHA induced changes at nucleosome 1 of the HIV promoter in chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays in concert with EGFP expression. In the resting CD4+ T cells of antiretroviral-treated, aviremic HIV-infected patients clinically achievable exposures to SAHA induced virus outgrowth ex vivo. These results suggest that potent, selective HDAC inhibitors may allow improved targeting of persistent proviral HIV infection, and define parameters for in vivo studies using SAHA.
PMCID: PMC2853863  PMID: 19239360
5.  CD4+ T-Cell Decline after the Interruption of Antiretroviral Therapy in ACTG A5170 Is Predicted by Differential Expression of Genes in the Ras Signaling Pathway* 
AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses  2008;24(8):1047-1066.
Patterns of expressed genes examined in cryopreserved peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of seropositive persons electing to stop antiretroviral therapy in the AIDS Clinical Trials Group Study A5170 were scrutinized to identify markers capable of predicting the likelihood of CD4+ T-cell depletion after cessation of antiretroviral therapy (ART). A5170 was a multicenter, 96-week, prospective study of HIV-infected patients with immunological preservation on ART who elected to interrupt therapy. Study entry required that the CD4 count was greater than 350 cells/mm3 within 6 months of ART initiation. Median nadir CD4 count of enrollees was 436 cells/mm3. Two cohorts, matched for clinical characteristics, were selected from A5170. Twenty-four patients with an absolute CD4 cell decline of less that 20% at week 24 (good outcome group) and 24 with a CD4 cell decline of >20% (poor outcome group) were studied. The good outcome group had a decline in CD4+ T-cell count that was 50% less than the poor outcome group. Significance analysis of microarrays identified differential gene expression (DE) in the two groups in data obtained from Affymetrix Human FOCUS GeneChips. DE was significantly higher in the poor outcome group than in the good outcome group. Prediction analysis of microarrays (PAM-R) identified genes that classified persons as to progression with greater than 80% accuracy at therapy interruption (TI) as well as at 24 weeks after TI. Gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) identified a set of genes in the Ras signaling pathway, associated with the downregulation of apoptosis, as significantly upregulated in the good outcome group at cessation of ART. These observations identify specific host cell processes associated with differential outcome in this cohort after TI.
PMCID: PMC3139520  PMID: 18724805

Results 1-5 (5)