Persistent low-level viremia in HIV-1 elite controllers and relationship to immunologic parameters.
ABSTRACT Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) elite controllers are able to control virus replication to levels below the limits of detection by commercial assays, but the actual level of viremia in these individuals is not well defined. Here, we quantify plasma HIV-1 RNA in elite controllers and correlate this with specific immunologic parameters.
Plasma HIV-1 RNA levels were quantified in 90 elite controllers with use of a real time reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction assay with a sensitivity of 0.2 copies/mL. HIV-1-specific immune responses and longitudinal CD4(+) T cell counts were examined.
The median plasma HIV-1 RNA level was 2 copies/mL (interquartile range, 0.2-14 copies/mL). A longitudinal analysis of 31 elite controllers demonstrated 2-5-fold fluctuations in viremia in the majority of individuals; 6 had persistent levels below 1 copy/mL. Viremia correlated directly with HIV-1-specific neutralizing antibodies and Western blot reactivity but not with CD8(+) T cell responses. Absolute CD4(+) T cell decrease was more common among individuals with detectable viremia (P = .04).
Low-level viremia is present in the majority of elite controllers and is associated with higher HIV-1-specific antibody responses. Absolute CD4(+) T cell loss is more common among viremic individuals, suggesting that even very low-level viremia has negative consequences over time.
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ABSTRACT: HIV "elite controllers" (ECs) spontaneously control viral load, but some eventually require combination antiretroviral treatment (cART), due to a loss of viral control or a decline in CD4 T-cell counts. Here we studied the CD4 T-cell count dynamics after cART initiation among 34 ECs followed in U.S. and European cohorts, by comparison with chronically viremic patients (VIRs). ECs were defined as patients with at least ≥5 viral load (VL) measurements below 400 copies/mL during at least a 5-year period despite never receiving ART and were selected from the French ANRS CO18 cohort, the U.S. SCOPE cohort, the International HIV Controllers study and the European CASCADE collaboration. VIRs were selected from the ANRS COPANA cohort of recently-diagnosed (<1 year) ART-naïve HIV-1-infected adults. CD4 T-cell count dynamics after cART initiation in both groups were modelled with piecewise mixed linear models. After cART initiation, CD4 T-cell counts showed a biphasic rise in VIRs with: an initial rapid increase during the first 3 months (+0.63[Formula: see text]/month), followed by +0.19[Formula: see text]/month. This first rapid phase was not observed in ECs, in whom the CD4Tc count increased steadily, at a rate similar to that of the second phase observed in VIRs. After cART initiation at a CD4 T-cell count of 300/mm(3), the estimated mean CD4 T-cell gain during the first 12 months was 139/mm(3) in VIRs and 80/mm(3) in ECs (p = 0.048). cART increases CD4 T-cell counts in elite controllers, albeit less markedly than in other patients.PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(1):e85516. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Galectin-9 (Gal-9) is a β-galactosidase-binding lectin that promotes apoptosis, tissue inflammation, T cell immune exhaustion, and alters HIV infection in part through engagement with the T cell immunoglobulin mucin domain-3 (Tim-3) receptor and protein disulphide isomerases (PDI). Gal-9 was initially thought to be an eosinophil attractant, but is now known to mediate multiple complex signaling events that affect T cells in both an immunosuppressive and inflammatory manner. To understand the kinetics of circulating Gal-9 levels during HIV infection we measured Gal-9 in plasma during HIV acquisition, in subjects with chronic HIV infection with differing virus control, and in uninfected individuals. During acute HIV infection, circulating Gal-9 was detected as early as 5 days after quantifiable HIV RNA and tracked plasma levels of IL-10, TNF-α, and IL-1β. In chronic HIV infection, Gal-9 levels positively correlated with plasma HIV RNA levels (r= 0.29; p= 0.023), and remained significantly elevated during suppressive anti-retroviral therapy (median: 225.3 pg/ml) and in elite controllers (263.3 pg/ml) compared to age-matched HIV-uninfected controls (54 pg/ml). Our findings identify Gal-9 as a novel component of the first wave of the cytokine storm in acute HIV infection that is sustained at elevated levels in virally suppressed subjects and suggest that Gal-9:Tim-3 crosstalk remains active in elite controllers and ARV suppressed subjects, potentially contributing to ongoing inflammation and persistent T cell dysfunction.AIDS research and human retroviruses 04/2014; · 2.18 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The field of HIV prevention has indeed progressed in leaps and bounds, but with major limitations of the current prevention and treatment options, the world remains desperate for an HIV vaccine. Sadly, this continues to be elusive, because more than 30 years since its discovery there is no licensed HIV vaccine. Research aiming to define immunological biomarkers to accurately predict vaccine efficacy have focused mainly on systemic immune responses, and as such, studies defining correlates of protection in the genitorectal mucosa, the primary target site for HIV entry and seeding are sparse. Clearly, difficulties in sampling and analysis of mucosal specimens, as well as their limited size have been a major deterrent in characterizing the type (mucosal antibodies, cytokines, chemokines, or CTL), threshold (magnitude, depth, and breadth) and viral inhibitory capacity of HIV-1-specific immune responses in the genitorectal mucosa, where they are needed to immediately block HIV acquisition and arrest subsequent virus dissemination. Nevertheless, a few studies document the existence of HIV-specific immune responses in the genitorectal mucosa of HIV-infected aviremic and viremic controllers, as well as in highly exposed persistently seronegative (HEPS) individuals with natural resistance to HIV-1. Some of these responses strongly correlate with protection from HIV acquisition and/or disease progression, thus providing significant clues of the ideal components of an efficacious HIV vaccine. In this study, we provide an overview of the key features of protective immune responses found in HEPS, elite and viremic controllers, and discuss how these can be achieved through mucosal immunization. Inevitably, HIV vaccine development research will have to consider strategies that elicit potent antibody and cellular immune responses within the genitorectal mucosa or induction of systemic immune cells with an inherent potential to home and persist at mucosal sites of HIV entry.Frontiers in Immunology 01/2014; 5:202.