[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Serum cytokine profiling is a powerful tool to link host immune defense with disease pathogenesis. Although several multiplex assays are commercially available, none has been rigorously validated in the context of chronic infectious disease (such as HIV infection). Here we compared the measurement of proinflammatory cytokines by two multiplex platforms: the Meso Scale Discovery (MSD) electrochemiluminescence assay and the Becton Dickinson Cytometric Bead Array (CBA) flow cytometric assay, using serum samples from HIV-infected and -uninfected donors. We evaluated the ability of these assays to: a) quantify circulating levels of native cytokines (IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, TNF-α, IL-12p70, IL-1β), and b) accurately recover known amounts of recombinant cytokines added to serum samples. Based on the standard curves, the sensitivity of the MSD system was only slightly better than the CBA. However, in serum the MSD platform consistently quantified levels of endogenous IL-12p70, TNF-α, and IL-10 that were undetectable by the CBA assay. The MSD assay was also more accurate as determined by an enhanced capacity to recover known concentrations of recombinant cytokines added to serum. Both assays performed equally well in quantifying IL-6 and IL-8, while neither assay quantified IL-1β with accuracy and precision. Interestingly, HIV infection did not affect the performance of either assay. Overall, the MSD assay provided a more reliable assessment of the proinflammatory cytokines tested in the serum of healthy and HIV-infected individuals.
Journal of immunological methods 07/2011; 372(1-2):71-7. · 2.35 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: IL-10 plays a critical role in controlling inflammation and the anti-inflammatory functions of IL-10 are regulated based on its coordinated expression from various cellular sources, most notably T cells. Although nearly all CD4+ subpopulations can express IL-10, surprisingly little is known about the molecular mechanisms which control IL-10 induction, particularly in humans. To examine the regulation of human IL-10 expression, we created the hIL10BAC transgenic mouse. As previously reported, we observed conservation of myeloid-derived IL-10 expression but found that human IL-10 was only weakly expressed in splenic CD4+ T cells from hIL10BAC mice. Since DNA methylation is an important determinant of gene expression profiles, we assessed the patterns of DNA methylation in the human and mouse IL10 genes in naïve and activated CD4+ T cells. Across mouse and human IL10 there were no obvious patterns of CpG methylation in naïve CD4+ T cells following polyclonal activation. Overall however, the human IL10 gene had significantly higher levels of DNA methylation. Interestingly, coculture with the IL-10-inducing cytokine IL-27 lead to a site-specific reduction in methylation of the mouse but not human IL10 gene. Demethylation was specifically localized to an intronic site adjacent to a known regulatory region. Our findings indicate that while the mouse and human IL10 genes undergo variable changes in DNA methylation during CD4+ T cell activation, IL-27 appears to influence DNA methylation in a particular intronic region thus associating with IL-10 expression.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Reports from the United States have demonstrated that elevated markers of microbial translocation from the gut may be found in chronic and advanced HIV-1 infection and are associated with an increase in immune activation. However, this phenomenon's role in HIV-1 disease in Africa is unknown. This study examined the longitudinal relationship between microbial translocation and circulating inflammatory cytokine responses in a cohort of people with varying rates of HIV-1 disease progression in Rakai, Uganda. Multiple markers for microbial translocation (lipopolysaccharide, endotoxin antibody, and sCD14) did not change significantly during HIV-1 disease progression. Moreover, circulating immunoreactive cytokine levels either decreased or remained virtually unchanged throughout disease progression. These data suggest that microbial translocation and its subsequent inflammatory immune response do not have a causal relationship with HIV-1 disease progression in Africa.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 05/2009; 106(16):6718-23. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Abstract Multiple HIV-1 subtypes and circulating recombinant forms (CRFs) are known to cocirculate in Africa. In West Africa, the high prevalence of CRF02_AG, and cocirculation of subtype A, CRF01_AE, CRF06_cpx, and other complex intersubtype recombinants has been well documented. Mali, situated in the heart of West Africa, is likely to be affected by the spread of recombinant subtypes. However, the dynamics of the spread of HIV-1 recombinant subtypes as well as nonrecombinant HIV-1 group M subtypes in this area have not been systematically assessed. Herein, we undertook genetic analyses on full-length env sequences derived from HIV-1-infected individuals living in the capital city of Mali, Bamako. Of 23 samples we examined, 16 were classified as CRF02_AG and three had a subsubtype A3. Among the remaining HIV-1 strains, CRF06_cpx and CRF09_cpx were each found in two patients. Comparison of phylogenies for six matched pol and full-length env sequences revealed that two strains had discordant subtype/CRF designations between the pol and env regions: one had A3(pol)CRF02_AG(env) and the other had CRF02_AG(pol)A3(env). Taken together, our study demonstrated the high prevalence of CRF02_AG and complexity of circulating HIV-1 strains in Mali. It also provided evidence of ongoing virus evolution of CRF02_AG, as illustrated by the emergence of more complex CRF02_AG/A3 intersubtype recombinants in this area.
AIDS research and human retroviruses 02/2009; 25(1):45-55. · 2.18 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The design of epitope-driven vaccines for HIV has been significantly hampered by concerns about conservation of vaccine epitopes across clades of HIV. In previous work, we have described a computer-driven method for a cross-clade HIV vaccine comprised of overlapping, highly conserved helper T-cell epitopes or "immunogenic consensus sequence epitopes" (ICS epitopes). Here, we evaluated and compared the immunogenicity of 20 ICS HIV epitopes in ELISpot assays performed using peripheral blood monocytes (PBMC) from HIV-infected donors in Providence, Rhode Island, USA and in Bamako, Mali, West Africa. Each core 9-mer HIV sequence contained in a given consensus peptide was conserved in at least 105 to as many as 2,250 individual HIV-1 strains. Nineteen of the 20 ICS epitopes (95%) were confirmed in ELISpot assays using PBMC obtained from 13 healthy, HIV-1 infected subjects in Providence, and thirteen of the epitopes (65%) were confirmed in ELISpot assays using PBMC derived from 42 discarded blood units obtained at the Central Blood Bank in Bamako. Twelve of the epitopes were confirmed in ELISpot assays performed both in Providence and Bamako. These data confirm the utility of bioinformatics tools to select and design novel vaccines containing "immunogenic consensus sequence" T-cell epitopes for a globally relevant vaccine against HIV; a similar approach may also be useful for any pathogen that exhibits high variability (influenza, HCV, or variola for example). An HIV vaccine containing these immunogenic consensus sequences is currently under development.