HIV Controllers: A Homogeneous Group of HIV-1—Infected Patients with Spontaneous Control of Viral Replication

INSERM E-0109, Faculté de Médecine Paris-Sud, Université Paris XI, Service de Santé Publique, Bicêtre, France.
Clinical Infectious Diseases (Impact Factor: 8.89). 11/2005; 41(7):1053-6. DOI: 10.1086/433188
Source: PubMed


We identified a total 15 patients who have maintained undetectable plasma HIV RNA loads without antiretroviral treatment for >10 years from cohorts of 1300 and 1551 patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). These 15 patients, whom we have referred to as "HIV controllers," are characterized by a low HIV DNA load in peripheral blood mononuclear cells and by a strong HIV-specific immune response.

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    • "Pediatric long-term nonprogressors (LTNPs) are individuals infected with HIV-1 who maintain a suppressed viral load, which refers to either an undetectable viral load (HIV RNA <20 to 75 copies/mL) or a low-detectable HIV-RNA viral load (typically HIV RNA <200 copies/mL), depending on the sensitivity of the HIV RNA assay that is used, despite not being on ART [2]. The clinical relevance of the LTNP classification is not well understood, as some patients remain virologically suppressed, while others have gone on to develop AIDS. "
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    ABSTRACT: Patients infected with HIV are best categorized along a continuum from rapid progressors to HIV long-term nonprogressors. Long-term nonprogressors (LTNPs) are those in which AIDS develop many years after being infected with HIV, often beyond the 10-year mark, and represent 15-20% of the HIV infected patients. Many of these patients are able to control their infection and maintain undetectable viral loads for long periods of time without antiretroviral therapy. After a comprehensive literature search, we found extensive data related to HIV LTNPs in the adult population; however, very limited data was available related to LTNPs within the pediatric population. We present a case of pediatric HIV LTNPs, perinatally infected patient with undetectable viral loads, despite never receiving ART. Although there are not many instances of LTNPs among children, this child may be one, though she had intermittent viremia. She has continued to manifest serologic evidence of infection, with yearly ELISA and western blot positive tests. Based on the viral fitness studies that were performed, this case exemplifies an adolescent LTNP.
    08/2014; 2014:752312. DOI:10.1155/2014/752312
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    • "HIV-1 infected controllers maintain durable viral suppression without anti-retroviral therapy (ART) and have generally been defined as either having undetectable HIV-1 RNA levels using conventional assays (elite controllers) or having low but detectable levels of viral replication below 2000 copies viral RNA/ml (viremic controllers) [1], [2], [3], [4], [5], [6]. Although mechanisms of elite control have been widely studied [7], [8], [9], [10], [11], [12], [13], the immunological factor(s) associated with host control in presence of low but detectable viral replication in viremic controllers remains of considerable interest. "
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    ABSTRACT: HIV-1 infected viremic controllers maintain durable viral suppression below 2000 copies viral RNA/ml without anti-retroviral therapy (ART), and the immunological factor(s) associated with host control in presence of low but detectable viral replication are of considerable interest. Here, we utilized a multivariable analysis to identify which innate and adaptive immune parameters best correlated with viral control utilizing a cohort of viremic controllers (median 704 viral RNA/ml) and non-controllers (median 21,932 viral RNA/ml) that were matched for similar CD4+ T cell counts in the absence of ART. We observed that HIV-1 Gag-specific CD8+ T cell responses were preferentially targeted over Pol-specific responses in viremic controllers (p = 0.0137), while Pol-specific responses were positively associated with viral load (rho = 0.7753, p = 0.0001, n = 23). Viremic controllers exhibited significantly higher NK and plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC) frequency as well as retained expression of the NK CD16 receptor and strong target cell-induced NK cell IFN-gamma production compared to non-controllers (p<0.05). Despite differences in innate and adaptive immune function however, both viremic controllers (p<0.05) and non-controller subjects (p<0.001) exhibited significantly increased CD8+ T cell activation and spontaneous NK cell degranulation compared to uninfected donors. Overall, we identified that a combination of innate (pDC frequency) and adaptive (Pol-specific CD8+ T cell responses) immune parameters best predicted viral load (R2 = 0.5864, p = 0.0021, n = 17) by a multivariable analysis. Together, this data indicates that preferential Gag-specific over Pol-specific CD8+ T cell responses along with a retention of functional innate subsets best predict host control over viral replication in HIV-1 infected viremic controllers compared to chronically-infected non-controllers.
    PLoS ONE 07/2014; 9(7):e103209. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0103209 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    • "Occasionally, pathogens emerge which are not effectively targeted by the immune response of most individuals, leading to overwhelming persistent infection often with significant pathologic consequences. Rare individuals are able to control these infections [4], [5], [6]. Fortuitously, the vast diversity of MHC genes in the population favors the presence of rare alleles that are capable of recognizing and clearing these emerging pathogens. "
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    ABSTRACT: The emergence of novel viral pathogens can lead to devastating consequences in the infected population. However, on occasion, rare hyper-responsive elite controllers are able to mount a protective primary response to infection and clear the new pathogen. Factors distinguishing elite controllers from other members of the population are not completely understood. We have been using Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis as a model of primary infection in mice and clearance of the virus is limited to one MHC genotype capable of generating a protective response to a single viral peptide VP2121-130. The genetics of host susceptibility to TMEV, a natural mouse pathogen, has been studied extensively and non-protective CD8 responses to other peptides have been documented, however, little is known why the protective response to infection focuses on the VP2121-130 peptide. To study this question, we have generated TMEV mutants that encode for mutations within the VP2121-130 peptide. We find that very few of mutants are able to assemble and infect in vitro. These mutations are not related to virus RNA structure since non-coding mutations do not interfere with assembly. In the rare event when functional VP2121-130 mutant viruses did emerge, they were attenuated to some level or retained the ability to develop an immune response to the wild-type VP2121-130 sequence, demonstrating that the virus is incapable of escaping the protective response. These findings advance our understanding of how characteristics of the host immune response and an infectious agent can interact to lead to the appearance of rare super controllers in a population. Furthermore, the immutable nature of the viral antigen highlights the importance of choosing appropriate vaccine antigens and has implications for the development of agents that are able to generate protective CD8 T-cell responses.
    PLoS ONE 04/2014; 9(4):e94332. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0094332 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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