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1.  Rate of candidiasis among HIV-infected children in Spain in the era of highly active antiretroviral therapy (1997–2008) 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2013;13:115.
Background
Candidiasis is the most common opportunistic infection seen in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected individuals. The aim of our study was to estimate the candidiasis rate and evaluate its trend in HIV-infected children in Spain during the era of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) compared to HIV-uninfected children.
Methods
We carried out a retrospective study. Data were obtained from the records of the Minimum Basic Data Set from hospitals in Spain. All HIV-infected children were under 17 years of age, and a group of HIV-uninfected children with hospital admissions matching the study group by gender and age were randomly selected. The follow-up period (1997–2008) was divided into three calendar periods: a) From 1997 to 1999 for early-period HAART; b) from 2000 to 2002 for mid-period HAART; and c) from 2003 to 2008 for late-period HAART.
Results
Among children with hospital admissions, HIV-infected children had much higher values than HIV-uninfected children during each of the three calendar periods for overall candidiasis rates (150.0 versus 6.1 events per 1,000 child hospital admissions/year (p < 0.001), 90.3 versus 3.1 (p < 0.001), and 79.3 versus 10.7 (p < 0.001), respectively) and for non-invasive Candida mycosis (ICM) rates (118.5 versus 3.8 (p < 0.001), 85.3 versus 2.3 (p < 0.001), and 80.6 versus 6.0 (p < 0.001), respectively). In addition, HIV-infected children also had higher values of ICM rates than HIV-uninfected children, except during the last calendar period when no significant difference was found (32.4 versus 1.2 (p < 0.001), 11.6 versus 0.4 (p < 0.001), and 4.6 versus 2.3 (p = 0.387), respectively). For all children living with HIV/AIDS, the overall candidiasis rate (events per 1,000 HIV-infected children/year) decreased from 1997–1999 to 2000–2002 (18.8 to 10.6; p < 0.001) and from 2000–2002 to 2003–2008 (10.6 to 5.7; p = 0.060). Within each category of candidiasis, both non-ICM and ICM rates experienced significant decreases from 1997–1999 to 2003–2008 (15.9 to 5.7 (p < 0.001) and 4.1 to 0.3 (p < 0.001), respectively).
Conclusions
Although the candidiasis rate still remains higher than in the general population (from 1997 to 2008), candidiasis diagnoses have decreased among HIV-infected children throughout the HAART era, and it has ceased to be a major health problem among children with HIV infection.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-13-115
PMCID: PMC3599397  PMID: 23510319
AIDS; Candidiasis; HAART; Infection; Pediatric; Epidemiology
2.  Direct association between pharyngeal viral secretion and host cytokine response in severe pandemic influenza 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2011;11:232.
Background
Severe disease caused by 2009 pandemic influenza A/H1N1virus is characterized by the presence of hypercytokinemia. The origin of the exacerbated cytokine response is unclear. As observed previously, uncontrolled influenza virus replication could strongly influence cytokine production. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the relationship between host cytokine responses and viral levels in pandemic influenza critically ill patients.
Methods
Twenty three patients admitted to the ICU with primary viral pneumonia were included in this study. A quantitative PCR based method targeting the M1 influenza gene was developed to quantify pharyngeal viral load. In addition, by using a multiplex based assay, we systematically evaluated host cytokine responses to the viral infection at admission to the ICU. Correlation studies between cytokine levels and viral load were done by calculating the Spearman correlation coefficient.
Results
Fifteen patients needed of intubation and ventilation, while eight did not need of mechanical ventilation during ICU hospitalization. Viral load in pharyngeal swabs was 300 fold higher in the group of patients with the worst respiratory condition at admission to the ICU. Pharyngeal viral load directly correlated with plasma levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-6, IL-12p70, IFN-γ, the chemotactic factors MIP-1β, GM-CSF, the angiogenic mediator VEGF and also of the immuno-modulatory cytokine IL-1ra (p < 0.05). Correlation studies demonstrated also the existence of a significant positive association between the levels of these mediators, evidencing that they are simultaneously regulated in response to the virus.
Conclusions
Severe respiratory disease caused by the 2009 pandemic influenza virus is characterized by the existence of a direct association between viral replication and host cytokine response, revealing a potential pathogenic link with the severe disease caused by other influenza subtypes such as H5N1.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-11-232
PMCID: PMC3175217  PMID: 21880131
cytokines; critical; influenza; patients; virus
3.  Can serum hyaluronic acid replace simple non-invasive indexes to predict liver fibrosis in HIV/Hepatitis C coinfected patients? 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2010;10:244.
Background
Hyaluronic acid (HA) serum levels correlate with the histological stages of liver fibrosis in hepatitis C virus (HCV) monoinfected patients, and HA alone has shown very good diagnostic accuracy as a non-invasive assessment of fibrosis and cirrhosis. The aim of this study was to evaluate serum HA levels as a simple non-invasive diagnostic test to predict hepatic fibrosis in HIV/HCV-coinfected patients and to compare its diagnostic performance with other previously published simple non-invasive indexes consisting of routine parameters (HGM-1, HGM-2, Forns, APRI, and FIB-4).
Methods
We carried out a cross-sectional study on 201 patients who all underwent liver biopsies and had not previously received interferon therapy. Liver fibrosis was determined via METAVIR score. The diagnostic accuracy of HA was assessed by area under the receiver operating characteristic curves (AUROCs).
Results
The distribution of liver fibrosis in our cohort was 58.2% with significant fibrosis (F≥2), 31.8% with advanced fibrosis (F≥3), and 11.4% with cirrhosis (F4). Values for the AUROC of HA levels corresponding to significant fibrosis (F≥2), advanced fibrosis (F≥3) and cirrhosis (F4) were 0.676, 0.772, and 0.863, respectively. The AUROC values for HA were similar to those for HGM-1, HGM-2, FIB-4, APRI, and Forns indexes. The best diagnostic accuracy of HA was found for the diagnosis of cirrhosis (F4): the value of HA at the low cut-off (1182 ng/mL) excluded cirrhosis (F4) with a negative predictive value of 99% and at the high cut-off (2400 ng/mL) confirmed cirrhosis (F4) with a positive predictive value of 55%. By utilizing these low and high cut-off points for cirrhosis, biopsies could have theoretically been avoided in 52.2% (111/201) of the patients.
Conclusions
The diagnostic accuracy of serum HA levels increases gradually with the hepatic fibrosis stage. However, HA is better than other simple non-invasive indexes using parameters easily available in routine clinical practice only for the diagnosing of cirrhosis.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-244
PMCID: PMC2936897  PMID: 20723207
4.  Immunological predictors of CD4+ T cell decline in antiretroviral treatment interruptions 
Background
The common response to stopping anti-HIV treatment is an increase of HIV-RNA load and decrease in CD4+, but not all the patients have similar responses to this therapeutic strategy. The aim was to identify predictive markers of CD4+ cell count declines to < 350/μL in CD4-guided antiretroviral treatment interruptions.
Methods
27 HIV-infected patients participated in a prospective multicenter study in with a 24 month follow-up. Patients on stable highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), with CD4+ count > 600/μL, and HIV-RNA < 50 copies/ml for at least 6 months were offered the option to discontinue antiretroviral therapy. The main outcome was a decline in CD4+ cell count to < 350/μL.
Results
After 24 months of follow-up, 16 of 27 (59%) patients (who discontinued therapy) experienced declines in CD4+ cell count to < 350/μL. Patients with a CD4+ nadir of < 200 cells/μL had a greater risk of restarting therapy during the follow-up (RR (CI95%): 3.37 (1.07; 10.36)). Interestingly, lymphoproliferative responses to Mycobacterium tuberculosis purified protein derivative (PPD) below 10000 c.p.m. at baseline (4.77 (1.07; 21.12)), IL-4 production above 100 pg/mL at baseline (5.95 (1.76; 20.07)) in PBMC cultured with PPD, and increased IL-4 production of PBMC with p24 antigen at baseline (1.25 (1.01; 1.55)) were associated to declines in CD4+ cell count to < 350/μL.
Conclusion
Both the number (CD4+ nadir) and the functional activity of CD4+ (lymphoproliferative response to PPD) predict the CD4+ decrease associated with discontinuation of ART in patients with controlled viremia.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-8-20
PMCID: PMC2291054  PMID: 18302775
5.  Different profiles of immune reconstitution in children and adults with HIV-infection after highly active antiretroviral therapy 
Background
Recent advances in characterizing the immune recovery of HIV-1-infected people have highlighted the importance of the thymus for peripheral T-cell diversity and function. The aim of this study was to investigate differences in immune reconstitution profiles after highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) between HIV-children and adults.
Methods
HIV patients were grouped according to their previous clinical and immunological status: 9 HIV-Reconstituting-adults (HIV-Rec-adults) and 10 HIV-Reconstituting-children (HIV-Rec-children) on HAART with viral load (VL) ≤400 copies/ml and CD4+ ≥500 cells/μL at least during 6 months before the study and CD4+ ≤300 cells/μL anytime before. Fifteen healthy-adults and 20 healthy-children (control subjects) were used to calculate Z-score values to unify value scales between children and adults to make them comparable.
Results
HIV-Rec-children had higher T-cell receptor excision circles (TREC) and lower interleukin (IL)-7 levels than HIV-Rec-adults (p < 0.05). When we analyzed Z-score values, HIV-Rec-children had higher TREC Z-score levels (p = 0.03) than HIV-Rec-adults but similar IL-7 Z-score levels. Regarding T-cell subsets, HIV-Rec-children had higher naïve CD4+ (CD4+CD45RA hi+CD27+), naïve CD8+ (CD8+CD45RA hi+CD27+), and memory CD8+ (CD8+CD45RO+) cells/μl than HIV-Rec-adults, but similar memory CD4+ (CD4+CD45RO+) counts. HIV-Rec-children had lower naïve CD8+ Z-score values than HIV-Rec-adults (p = 0.05).
Conclusion
Our data suggest that HIV-Rec-children had better thymic function than HIV-Rec-adults and this fact affects the peripheral T-cell subsets. Thus, T-cell recovery after HAART in HIV-Rec-adults could be the consequence of antigen-independent peripheral T-cell expansion while in HIV-Rec-children thymic output could play a predominant role in immune reconstitution.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-6-112
PMCID: PMC1534048  PMID: 16839416
6.  Effects of highly active antiretroviral therapy with nelfinavir in vertically HIV-1 infected children: 3 years of follow-up. Long-term response to nelfinavir in children 
Background
Antiretroviral treatment (ART) in children has special features and consequently, results obtained from clinical trials with antiretroviral drugs in adults may not be representative of children. Nelfinavir (NFV) is an HIV-1 Protease Inhibitor (PI) which has become as one of the first choices of PI for ART in children. We studied during a 3-year follow-up period the effects of highly active antiretroviral therapy with nelfinavir in vertically HIV-1 infected children.
Methods
Forty-two vertically HIV-infected children on HAART with NFV were involved in a multicentre prospective study. The children were monitored at least every 3 months with physical examinations, and blood sample collection to measure viral load (VL) and CD4+ cell count. We performed a logistic regression analysis to determinate the odds ratio of baseline characteristics on therapeutic failure.
Results
Very important increase in CD4+ was observed and VL decreased quickly and it remained low during the follow-up study. Children with CD4+ <25% at baseline achieved CD4+ >25% at 9 months of follow-up. HIV-infected children who achieved undetectable viral load (uVL) were less than 40% in each visit during follow-up. Nevertheless, HIV-infected children with VL >5000 copies/ml were less than 50% during the follow-up study. Only baseline VL was an important factor to predict VL control during follow-up. Virological failure at defined end-point was confirmed in 30/42 patients. Along the whole of follow-up, 16/42 children stopped HAART with NFV. Baseline characteristics were not associated with therapeutic change.
Conclusion
NFV is a safe drug with a good profile and able to achieve an adequate response in children.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-6-107
PMCID: PMC1538605  PMID: 16834769
7.  Impact of long-term viral suppression in CD4+ recovery of HIV-children on Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy 
Background
The effects of HAART may differ between children and adults because children have a developing immune system, and the long-term immunological outcome in HIV-infected children on HAART is not well-known. A major aim of our study was to determine CD4+ evolution associated with long-term VL control during 4 years of observation on HAART.
Methods
We carried out a retrospective study on a cohort of 160 vertically HIV-infected children. It was carried out from 1996 to 2004 in six large Spanish pediatric referral hospitals. We compared 33 children who had long-term VL suppression (VL ≤400 copies/ml) in the first 12 months of follow-up and maintained that level throughout follow-up (Responders-group), and 127 children with persistently detectable VL in spite of ART switches (Non-Responders-group).
Results
We observed a quick initial and significant increase in CD4+ counts from the baseline to 12 months on HAART in both groups (p < 0.01). The Non-Responders group sustained CD4+ increases and most of these children maintained high CD4+ level counts (≥25%). The Non-Responders group reached a plateau between 26% and 27% CD4+ at the first 12 months of follow-up that remained stable during the following 3 years. However, the Responders group reached a plateau between 30% and 32% CD4+ at 24, 36 and 48 months of follow-up. We found that the Responders group had higher CD4+ count values and higher percentages of children with CD4+ ≥25% than the Non-Responders group (p < 0.05) after month 12.
Conclusion
Long-term VL suppression in turn induces large beneficial effects in immunological responses. However, it is not indispensable to recover CD4+ levels.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-6-10
PMCID: PMC1403782  PMID: 16433913

Results 1-7 (7)