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Department of Electrical Engineering
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Department of Chemical Engineering
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Department of Biological Sciences
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    ABSTRACT: Some individuals remain HIV-1 antibody and PCR negative after repeated exposures to the virus, and are referred to as HIV-exposed seronegatives (HESN). However, the causes of resistance to HIV-1 infection in cases other than those with a homozygous CCR5Δ32 deletion are unclear. We hypothesized that human p21WAF1/CIP1 (a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor) could play a role in resistance to HIV-1 infection in HESN, as p21 expression has been associated with suppression of HIV-1 in elite controllers and reported to block HIV-1 integration in cell culture. We measured p21 RNA expression in PBMC from 40 HESN and 40 low exposure HIV-1 seroconverters (LESC) prior to their infection using a real-time PCR assay. Comparing the 20 HESN with the highest exposure risk (median = 111 partners/2.5 years prior to the 20 LESC with the lowest exposure risk (median = 1 partner/2.5 years prior), p21 expression trended higher in HESN in only one of two experiments (P = 0.11 vs. P = 0.80). Additionally, comparison of p21 expression in the top 40 HESN (median = 73 partners/year) and lowest 40 LESC (median = 2 partners/year) showed no difference between the groups (P = 0.84). There was a weak linear trend between risk of infection after exposure and increasing p21 gene expression (R2 = 0.02, P = 0.12), but again only in one experiment. Hence, if p21 expression contributes to the resistance to viral infection in HESN, it likely plays a minor role evident only in those with extremely high levels of exposure to HIV-1.
    PLoS ONE 03/2015; 10(3):e0119218. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0119218
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    ABSTRACT: HIV associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) continue to affect cognition and everyday functioning despite anti-retroviral treatment (ART). Previous studies focused on mechanisms related to monocyte/macrophage mediated inflammation. However, in the ART era, there is increasing evidence for the involvement of CD8+ T-cells in CNS pathogenesis. To investigate the relationship between T-cell responses and neurocognitive impairment (NCI), cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and peripheral blood CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell intracellular cytokine (IFNγ, IL-2, TNFα) and lytic marker (CD107a) expression were assessed in HIV infected subjects who underwent comprehensive neurocognitive (NC) evaluation and either initiated or changed ART. Data were collected from 31 participants at 70 visits. The frequency of cytokine expressing T-cells in CSF was significantly higher than in peripheral blood for CD4+T-cells: TNFα, IL-2, IFNγ and CD8+T-cells: IL-2 and IFNγ. Analysis of T-cell activity and NCI as a function of CSF HIV RNA levels suggested a general association between NCI, high CSF CD8+ (but not CD4+T-cell) cytokine expression and CSF HIV RNA <103 copies/ml (p<0.0001). Specifically, CSF CD8+ T-cell IFNγ expression correlated with severity of NCI (r = 0.57, p = 0.004). Multivariable analyses indicated that CSF CD8+T-cell IFNγ and myeloid activation (CD163) contributed equally and independently to cognitive status and a composite variable produced the strongest correlation with NCI (r = 0.83, p = 0.0001). In contrast, CD8+ cytolytic activity (CD107a expression) was negatively correlated with NCI (p = 0.05) but was dependent on CD4 levels >400/μl and low CSF HIV RNA levels (<103 copies/ml). In our longitudinal analysis of 16 subjects, higher CSF CD8+IFNγ expression at baseline predicted NC decline at follow-up (p = 0.02). Severity of NCI at follow-up correlated with level of residual HIV RNA in CSF. Presence of IFNγ expressing CD8+ T-cells, absence of cytolytic CD8+ T-cells, high myeloid activation, and failure of ART to suppress HIV replication in CSF contribute to increased risk of HAND.
    PLoS ONE 02/2015; 10(2):e0116526. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0116526
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    ABSTRACT: Biomaterial injection-based therapies have showed cautious success in restoration of cardiac function and prevention of adverse remodelling into heart failure after myocardial infarction (MI). However, the underlying mechanisms are not well understood. Computational studies utilised simplified representations of the therapeutic myocardial injectates. Wistar rats underwent experimental infarction followed by immediate injection of polyethylene glycol hydrogel in the infarct region. Hearts were explanted, cryo-sectioned and the region with the injectate histologically analysed. Histological micrographs were used to reconstruct the dispersed hydrogel injectate. Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging data from a healthy rat were used to obtain an end-diastolic biventricular geometry which was subsequently adjusted and combined with the injectate model. The computational geometry of the injectate exhibited microscopic structural details found the in situ. The combination of injectate and cardiac geometry provides realistic geometries for multiscale computational studies of intra-myocardial injectate therapies for the rat model that has been widely used for MI research.
    Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering 02/2015; 18(3):325-331. DOI:10.1080/10255842.2013.793765

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The Lancet 09/2002; 360(9330):397-405. DOI:10.1016/S0140-6736(02)09620-4
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