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1.  Drug Resistance and Coreceptor Usage in HIV Type 1 Subtype C-Infected Children Initiating or Failing Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy in South Africa 
Abstract
HIV-1 drug resistance monitoring in resource-poor settings is crucial due to limited drug alternatives. Recent reports of the increased prevalence of CXCR4 usage in subtype C infections may have implications for CCR5 antagonists in therapy. We investigated the prevalence of drug resistance mutations and CXCR4 coreceptor utilization of viruses from HIV-1 subtype C-infected children. Fifty-one children with virological failure during highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) and 43 HAART-naive children were recruited. Drug resistance genotyping and coreceptor utilization assessment by phenotypic and genotypic methods were performed. At least one significant drug resistance mutation was present in 85.4% of HAART-failing children. Thymidine analogue mutations (TAMs) were detected in 58.5% of HAART-failing children and 39.0% had ≥3 TAMs. CXCR4 (X4) or dual (R5X4)/mixed (R5, X4) (D/M)-tropic viruses were found in 54.3% of HAART-failing and 9.4% of HAART-naive children (p<0.0001); however, the HAART-failing children were significantly older (p<0.0001). In multivariate logistic regression, significant predictors of CXCR4 usage included antiretroviral treatment, older age, and lower percent CD4+ T cell counts. The majority of genotypic prediction tools had low sensitivity (≤65.0%) and high specificity (≥87.5%) for predicting CXCR4 usage. Extensive drug resistance, including the high percentage of TAMs found, may compromise future drug choices for children, highlighting the need for improved treatment monitoring and adherence counseling. Additionally, the increased prevalence of X4/D/M viruses in HAART-failing children suggests limited use of CCR5 antagonists in salvage therapy. Enhanced genotypic prediction tools are needed as current tools are not sensitive enough for predicting CXCR4 usage.
doi:10.1089/aid.2011.0106
PMCID: PMC3316120  PMID: 21819257
2.  Short Communication: CD8+ T Cell Polyfunctionality Profiles in Progressive and Nonprogressive Pediatric HIV Type 1 Infection 
AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses  2011;27(9):1005-1012.
Abstract
Pediatric HIV-1 infection is characterized by rapid disease progression and without antiretroviral therapy (ART), more than 50% of infected children die by the age of 2 years. However, a small subset of infected children progresses slowly to disease in the absence of ART. This study aimed to identify functional characteristics of HIV-1-specific T cell responses that distinguish children with rapid and slow disease progression. Fifteen perinatally HIV-infected children (eight rapid and seven slow progressors) were longitudinally studied to monitor T cell polyfunctionality. HIV-1-specific interferon (IFN)-γ+ CD8+ T cell responses gradually increased over time but did not differ between slow and rapid progressors. However, polyfunctional HIV-1-specific CD8+ T cell responses, as assessed by the expression of four functions (IFN-γ, CD107a, TNF-α, MIP-1β), were higher in slow compared to rapid progressors (p=0.05) early in infection, and was associated with slower subsequent disease progression. These data suggest that the quality of the HIV-specific CD8+ T cell response is associated with the control of disease in children as has been shown in adult infection.
doi:10.1089/aid.2010.0227
PMCID: PMC3332389  PMID: 21288139
3.  Impairment of CD1d-Restricted Natural Killer T Cells in Chronic HIV Type 1 Clade C Infection 
Abstract
Recent studies suggest that natural killer T (NKT) cells play a role in early antiviral pathogenesis and are rapidly depleted in chronic human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) clade B infection. We aimed to characterize the phenotypic and functional characteristics of NKT cells in HIV-1 clade C-infected Africans at different stages of HIV-1 disease. NKT cell frequencies, subsets, and ex vivo effector functions were assessed using multiparametric flow cytometry in a cross-sectional analysis of cryopreserved peripheral blood mononuclear cells from a cohort of 53 HIV-1 clade C chronically infected South African adults with CD4 T cell counts ranging from 94 to 839 cells/μl. We observed a significant decline of NKT cell numbers in advanced HIV-1 disease as well as activation and functional impairment of NKT cells in individuals with low CD4 T cell counts. The loss of NKT cells was largely driven by a reduction in the CD4+ and CD4–CD8– NKT cell subsets in advanced disease. These findings demonstrate significant impairment of the NKT cell compartment in progressive HIV-1 clade C disease that might play an important role in the modulation of immune function in HIV-1 infection.
doi:10.1089/aid.2010.0237
PMCID: PMC3083726  PMID: 20942750
4.  Alterations in Natural Killer Cell Receptor Profiles During HIV Type 1 Disease Progression Among Chronically Infected South African Adults 
Abstract
Recent studies suggest that innate immune responses by natural killer (NK) cells play a significant role in restricting human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1) pathogenesis. Our aim was to characterize changes in NK cells associated with HIV-1 clade C disease progression. Here we used multiparametric flow cytometry (LSRII) to quantify phenotype and function of NK cells in a cross-sectional analysis of cryopreserved blood samples from a cohort of 41 chronically HIV-1-infected, treatment-naive adult South Africans. These individuals ranged in disease severity from early (CD4 count >500) to advanced HIV-1 disease (CD4 count <50). We found that the frequency of NK cells expressing KIR2DL1, an inhibitory receptor, and/or KIR2DS1, an activating receptor, tended to decrease with increasing HIV-1 viral load. We also discovered a significant increase (p < 0.05) in overall NK cell degranulation with disease progression. We found that acutely activated NK cells (CD69pos) were deficient in NKp46 expression ex vivo. In conclusion, we observed that with viremia and advanced HIV-1 disease, activated NK cells lack NKp46 expression, and KIR2DS1pos and/ or KIR2DL1pos NK cells are reduced in frequency. These findings suggest that modulation of receptor expression on NK cells may play a role in HIV-1 pathogenesis, and provide new insights on immunological changes in advanced HIV-1 disease.
doi:10.1089/aid.2009.0176
PMCID: PMC3111148  PMID: 20380481
5.  Temporal Reduction of HIV Type 1 Viral Load in Breast Milk by Single-Dose Nevirapine during Prevention of MTCT 
AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses  2009;25(12):1261-1264.
Abstract
Short-course zidovudine (ZDV) with or without a single dose of nevirapine (sdNVP) is widely used to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT). However, more data on viral load in breast milk following pMTCT regimens are needed. In a randomized PMTCT study in Botswana, in which half of the women received sdNVP in labor, stored samples from mothers assigned to breastfeed were analyzed for HIV-1 RNA in breast milk supernatant. A total of 527 samples from 282 women, collected at delivery, 2 weeks, 2 months, and 5 months postpartum were available for testing. Cell-free breast milk HIV-1 RNA was detectable (>40 copies/ml) in 44.8% (236/527) of samples analyzed. Women randomized to sdNVP + ZDV were more likely to have undetectable breast milk viral loads at 2 weeks postpartum compared with those who received ZDV alone (67.8% vs. 38.5%, p = 0.002). By 2 months postpartum the difference between study arms disappeared, and 43.8% of women who received sdNVP + ZDV had undetectable HIV-1 RNA compared to 53.8% of the ZDV alone group (p = 0.19) and 60.5% vs. 64.5%, respectively, at month 5 (p = 0.61.) The addition of sdNVP to antenatal short-course AZT resulted in significantly reduced breast milk viral loads at 2 weeks postpartum suggesting a reduced risk of MTCT during the early postpartum period. However, viral loads in both study arms were comparable at 2 and 5 months postpartum, suggesting that the receipt of sdNVP in labor may defer rather than blunt the postpartum viral load rebound seen in breast milk after the discontinuation of ZDV.
doi:10.1089/aid.2009.0037
PMCID: PMC2828251  PMID: 20001515
6.  Rare HLA Drive Additional HIV Evolution Compared to More Frequent Alleles 
Abstract
HIV-1 can evolve HLA-specific escape variants in response to HLA-mediated cellular immunity. HLA alleles that are common in the host population may increase the frequency of such escape variants at the population level. When loss of viral fitness is caused by immune escape variation, these variants may revert upon infection of a new host who does not have the corresponding HLA allele. Furthermore, additional escape variants may appear in response to the nonconcordant HLA alleles. Because individuals with rare HLA alleles are less likely to be infected by a partner with concordant HLA alleles, viral populations infecting hosts with rare HLA alleles may undergo a greater amount of evolution than those infecting hosts with common alleles due to the loss of preexisting escape variants followed by new immune escape. This hypothesis was evaluated using maximum likelihood phylogenetic trees of each gene from 272 full-length HIV-1 sequences. Recent viral evolution, as measured by the external branch length, was found to be inversely associated with HLA frequency in nef (p < 0.02), env (p < 0.03), and pol (p ≤ 0.05), suggesting that rare HLA alleles provide a disproportionate force driving viral evolution compared to common alleles, likely due to the loss of preexisting escape variants during early stages postinfection.
doi:10.1089/aid.2008.0208
PMCID: PMC2693345  PMID: 19327049
7.  Rare HLA Drive Additional HIV Evolution Compared to More Frequent Alleles 
HIV-1 can evolve HLA-specific escape variants in response to HLA-mediated cellular immunity. HLA alleles that are common in the host population may increase the frequency of such escape variants at the population level. When loss of viral fitness is caused by immune escape variation, these variants may revert upon infection of a new host who does not have the corresponding HLA allele. Furthermore, additional escape variants may appear in response to the nonconcordant HLA alleles. Because individuals with rare HLA alleles are less likely to be infected by a partner with concordant HLA alleles, viral populations infecting hosts with rare HLA alleles may undergo a greater amount of evolution than those infecting hosts with common alleles due to the loss of preexisting escape variants followed by new immune escape. This hypothesis was evaluated using maximum likelihood phylogenetic trees of each gene from 272 full-length HIV-1 sequences. Recent viral evolution, as measured by the external branch length, was found to be inversely associated with HLA frequency in nef (p<0.02), env (p<0.03), and pol (p≤0.05), suggesting that rare HLA alleles provide a disproportionate force driving viral evolution compared to common alleles, likely due to the loss of preexisting escape variants during early stages postinfection.
doi:10.1089/aid.2008.0208
PMCID: PMC2693345  PMID: 19327049

Results 1-7 (7)