[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Variability, both at the population (interhost) as well as at the individual (intrahost) level is a key property of HIV that stems mainly from the inherent infidelity of the reverse transcriptase enzyme that the virus uses to transcribe its RNA genome into DNA so that it may be integrated into the human genetic material and propagated along with it. The lack of proofreading mechanisms, high turnover of virions, and propensity for recombination also contribute to the extensive variability of HIV. These parameters provide the virus quasispecies with an impressive capacity to adapt to immunologic, pharmacologic or other selection pressures and have important implications for the diagnosis of new infections, the monitoring of antiretroviral treatment response, and effective vaccine(s) design. Herein, we discuss in detail the global genetic variation of HIV-1 infection.
Current HIV Research 08/2006; 4(3):365-73. · 2.14 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The COBAS TaqMan HIV-1 test (Roche Diagnostics) was compared with the LCx HIV RNA quantitative assay (Abbott Laboratories), the Versant HIV-1 RNA 3.0 (bDNA) assay (Bayer) and the COBAS Amplicor HIV-1 Monitor v1.5 test (Roche Diagnostics), using plasma samples of various viral load levels from HIV-1-infected individuals. In the comparison of TaqMan with LCx, TaqMan identified as positive 77.5% of the 240 samples versus 72.1% identified by LCx assay, while their overall agreement was 94.6% and the quantitative results of samples that were positive by both methods were strongly correlated (r=0.91). Similarly, in the comparison of TaqMan with bDNA 3.0, both methods identified 76.3% of the 177 samples as positive, while their overall agreement was 95.5% and the quantitative results of samples that were positive by both methods were strongly correlated (r=0.95). Finally, in the comparison of TaqMan with Monitor v1.5, TaqMan identified 79.5% of the 156 samples as positive versus 80.1% identified by Monitor v1.5, while their overall agreement was 95.5% and the quantitative results of samples that were positive by both methods were strongly correlated (r=0.96). In conclusion, the new COBAS TaqMan HIV-1 test showed excellent agreement with other widely used commercially available tests for the quantitation of HIV-1 viral load.
Journal of Virological Methods 03/2006; 131(2):168-74. · 1.88 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The transmission of HIV and the progression of HIV disease are influenced not only by a large number of human host factors, but also by certain correlates of the ever fluctuating virus quasispecies. The present review article aims at providing the current state of knowledge as well as an in-depth critical discussion of recent developments on the potential effects of HIV subtype, phenotype and attenuation on HIV disease. Despite the extensive research, several questions regarding the precise role that each of these correlates plays in human AIDS pathogenesis remain unanswered. Unraveling these roles is expected to aid the continued quest for truly effective antiretroviral drug regimens and preventive vaccines.
Current HIV Research 05/2005; 3(2):113-32. · 2.14 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To assess whether cellular HIV-1 DNA prior to highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) initiation predicts its outcome.
Patients included all 51 hemophiliacs of the Greek component of the Multicenter Hemophilia Cohort Study who had initiated HAART and for whom cryopreserved lymphocyte samples before HAART initiation were available. Cellular HIV-1 DNA quantification was performed by a molecular beacon-based real-time PCR assay in multiple samples per patient with a median (interquartile range) follow-up of 76 (45-102) weeks.
The median (range) baseline HIV-1 DNA load was 297 (< 10 to 3468) copies per 1 x 10(6) peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Baseline HIV-1 DNA load did not predict initial virological response (VR). None of the patients with initial VR and baseline HIV-1 DNA load at or below the median experienced a subsequent virological rebound, while the cumulative probability of virological rebound by week 104 was 55% among those with HIV-1 DNA load greater than the median (P < 0.008). Cellular HIV-1 DNA load was the only parameter associated with sustained virological response as shown by univariate or multivariate analyses [adjusted odds ratio (95% confidence interval) 0.197 (0.048-0.801) per 1 log10 increase in DNA copies, P = 0.023].
Low cellular HIV-1 DNA load is a marker of sustained virological response in patients with initial VR and it can reliably predict the long-term success of HAART.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The LCx HIV RNA quantitative assay (Abbott Laboratories, Delkenheim, Germany) was compared with the Versant HIV-1 RNA 3.0 (bDNA) assay (Bayer, Tarrytown, NY) and the COBAS Amplicor HIV-1 Monitor v1.5 test (Roche Diagnostics, Branchburg, NJ), using plasma samples of various viral load levels from HIV-1-infected patients. Considering the lower limit of the linear range of 50 copies/ml of both assays, the detection range of the LCx was 127/151 (84.1%) versus the 131/151 (86.8%) of the bDNA 3.0 assay, while overall agreement between the two assays was 93.4% (141/151). LCx and bDNA 3.0 results were found to be strongly correlated (r = 0.96). The fitted regression line was described by the equation log10(LCx copies/ml) = 0.05 + 1.06 x log10(bDNA 3.0 copies/ml) with 95% CI for the estimated slope and intercept at 1.01, 1.12 and -0.16, 0.26, respectively. Similarly, the detection range of the LCx was 115/148 (77.7%) versus the 128/148 (86.5%) of the Monitor v1.5 test. A 91.2% concordance (135/148) was observed between these two assays at a cut-off of 50 copies/ml. LCx and Monitor v1.5 results were highly correlated (r = 0.96). The fitted regression line was described by the equation log10(LCx copies/ml) = 0.06 + 1.03 x log(10)(Monitor v1.5 copies/ml) with 95% CI for the estimated slope and intercept at 0.97, 1.09 and -0.16, 0.28, respectively.
Journal of Virological Methods 11/2004; 121(1):93-9. · 1.88 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human allelic variants influence the susceptibility to HIV-1 infection and/or the subsequent rates of disease progression towards AIDS that average ten years, although they vary greatly among infected subjects. In this respect, studies involving multiply exposed persons who remain uninfected, long-term nonprogressors (who remain asymptomatic for fifteen years or more) or, in contrast, rapid progressors (who develop AIDS within two to three years post-infection) as well as seroincident cohorts of patients with defined seroconversion dates have contributed to our comprehension of the effects of different natural human polymorphisms on HIV-1 disease. The current article aims at providing an up-to-date review on these polymorphisms that may be broadly classified into three general categories: (1) those that control viral entry into susceptible cells (namely, chemokine and chemokine receptor polymorphisms), (2) mutational variants of genes involved in immune regulation, such as interleukin-10 (IL-10), interleukin-4 (IL-4), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), and mannose-binding lectin (MBL), and (3) polymorphisms in genes involved in the adaptive immune recognition by T cells, [human leukocyte antigen (HLA) type]. Particular emphasis has been placed on the state-of-the-art biotechnological methodologies, such as "spectral genotyping" that utilizes molecular beacons in conjunction with polymerase chain reaction in real-time (real-time-PCR), which were developed to assist with the characterization of some of these determinants. Elucidating the functional role of these factors via the application of such biotechnological assays is expected to further enhance our understanding of the pathogenesis of HIV-1 infection, and, eventually, to enrich our therapeutic arsenal with novel antiviral agents or strategic approaches.
Current HIV Research 05/2003; 1(2):185-203. · 2.14 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The current case study provided an unusual setting to track the evolution of HIV-1 envelope gene over a maximum period of 6 years in two asymptomatic spouses undergoing suppressive highly active antiretroviral therapy. For this purpose, proviral DNA samples taken from uncultured peripheral blood mononuclear cells and spanning the C2-V5 regions of env were analyzed at three sampling points per subject. Two distinct topological patterns were observed in the phylogenetic reconstructions of the genetically linked sequences of the couple: an intermingled pattern and a sequentially shifting pattern in the virus populations of the male index case and his spouse, respectively. Application of three evolutionary models for the amino acid-encoded sites, using the maximum likelihood approach, indicated the operation of positive selection in the region only at the second time point in the woman, before receiving therapy. These findings reinforce the evidence of a crucial role for host-selective constraints on HIV-1 env evolution in vivo.
AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses 02/2003; 19(1):65-71. · 2.46 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There are several forms of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) DNA in peripheral blood T cells and lymph nodes in untreated HIV-1-infected individuals and in patients whose plasma HIV-1 RNA levels are suppressed by long-term combination antiretroviral therapy. However, it remains to be established whether the concentration of HIV-1 DNA in cells predicts the clinical outcome of HIV-1 infection. In this report, we measured the concentration of HIV-1 DNA forms which has undergone the second template switch (STS DNA) and 2-long-terminal-repeat DNA circles in peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) samples. To do this, we used molecular-beacon-based real-time PCR assays and studied 130 patients with hemophilia in the Multicenter Hemophilia Cohort Study. We assessed the influence of baseline HIV-1 STS DNA levels on the progression of HIV-1 disease in the absence of combination antiretroviral therapy by Kaplan-Meier and Cox regression analysis. Among the patients who progressed to AIDS, the median levels (interquartile ranges) of STS HIV-1 DNA in PBMC were significantly higher than those of patients who remained AIDS free during the 16 years of follow-up (1,017 [235 to 6,059] and 286 [31 to 732] copies per 10(6) PBMC, respectively; P < 0.0001). Rates of progression to death and development of AIDS varied significantly (log rank P < 0.001) by quartile distribution of HIV-1 STS DNA levels. After adjustment for age at seroconversion, baseline CD4(+) T-cell counts, plasma viral load, and T-cell-receptor excision circles, the relative hazards (RH) of death and AIDS were significantly increased with higher HIV-1 STS DNA levels (adjusted RH, 1.84 [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.30 to 2.59] and 2.62 [95% CI, 1.75 to 3.93] per 10-fold increase per 10(6) PBMC, respectively). HIV-1 STS DNA levels in each individual remained steady in longitudinal PBMC samples during 16 years of follow-up. Our findings show that the concentration of HIV-1 STS DNA in PBMC complements the HIV-1 RNA load in plasma in predicting the clinical outcome of HIV-1 disease. This parameter may have important implications for understanding the virological response to combination antiretroviral therapy.
Journal of Virology 11/2002; 76(20):10099-108. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We describe a rare case of a pediatric patient with active GB virus C (GBV-C)/hepatitis G virus (HGV) infection who died of fulminant hepatic failure within less than a month after the onset of jaundice. The child tested negative for all other known hepatitis viruses and had no history of blood transfusions. This observation suggests that although GBV-C/HGV is usually not pathogenic to the liver, it may be associated with certain idiopathic forms of fulminant hepatitis. Whether this association is etiological or circumstantial remains to be seen.
Hepatology Research 07/2002; 23(2):85-89. · 2.22 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recombination is one of several factors that contribute to the great genetic diversity of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). In the current study, analysis of the full-length genome of a novel complex mosaic HIV-1 isolate (99GR303) from a Greek sailor who was possibly infected in Sierra Leone, Africa is presented. The 99GR303 isolate was found to comprise genomic regions belonging to subtypes A, G, J and K as well as of regions of a subtype that remains unclassified. For a partial region of env as well as vpr, no apparent similarity to the known HIV-1 subtypes or to any of the circulating recombinant forms was found. In fact, in the partial env gene, including the C2-V3 region, the 99GR303 isolate formed a new clade, suggesting the existence of an additional HIV-1 subtype. Thus, novel recombinants embody partial genomic regions which may have originated either from subtypes that existed in the past and became extinct or from contemporary subtypes that are extremely rare.
Journal of General Virology 11/2001; 82(Pt 10):2509-14. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To evaluate the safety and antiviral action of interferon-alpha (IFN-alpha) in HIV-1 infection, we undertook a proof of concept study in 27 treatment-naive patients. Eligible patients comprised two groups: the IFN-alphaT group (n = 17), which received 5 MIU IFN-alpha s.c. daily for 32 consecutive days, and the IFN-alphaNT group (n = 10), which did not receive IFN-alpha prior to highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), which was commenced on day 28 in both groups. IFN-alphaTreatment was well tolerated in 14 of the 17 patients of the IFN-alphaT group who completed the study. The mean HIV RNA reduction in the IFN-alphaT group on day 14 was 1.1 log(10). Viral load suppression was inversely associated with baseline viral load (p = 0.031). Four weeks after initiation of HAART, IFN-alphaT and IFN-alphaNT group patients had 2.40 and 1.82 log(10) HIV RNA reduction from baseline, respectively (p < 0.001). There was no evidence of cross-resistance with existing antiretrovirals in patients with HIV-RNA rebound after initial plasma viral load decline > or = 1 log(10) during IFN-alpha monotherapy. Thus, low daily IFN-alpha exhibits potent anti-HIV-1 activity in vivo without serious adverse effects. These properties render IFN-alpha an attractive candidate for further assessment as a constituent of HAART.
Journal of Interferon & Cytokine Research 10/2001; 21(10):861-9. · 3.90 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: HIV-1 RNA measurements from 84 plasma specimens obtained with the QUANTIPLEX HIV-1 RNA 2.0 and 3.0 (bDNA) assays (Chiron Diagnostics, Emeryville, CA) and with the AMPLICOR HIV-1 MONITOR Test, version 1.5 with ultra-sensitive specimen preparation (Roche Diagnostic Systems, Inc., Branchburg, NJ) were compared. The absolute RNA values of tested specimens differed significantly between bDNA 2.0 and bDNA 3.0 or Monitor v1.5 measurements (Wilcoxon signed-rank test P<0.001). Results generated with bDNA 3.0 or with Monitor v1.5 were approximately twofold greater than those generated with bDNA 2.0, with smaller differences at higher HIV-1 RNA levels and greater differences at RNA levels below 1000 copies per ml. Although highly correlated (r=0.92 and 0.86, respectively), viral load data generated with bDNA 2.0 and either bDNA 3.0 or Monitor v1.5 were in poor agreement. Concordant results (difference in log(10) copies per ml <0.5) were found at frequencies of 80% for bDNA 2.0 and bDNA 3.0 and only at 58.5% for bDNA 2.0 and Monitor v1.5. In contrast, bDNA 3.0 and Monitor v1.5 measurements were highly correlated (r=0.96) and in good agreement (92.7%).
Journal of Virological Methods 01/2001; 91(1):67-74. · 1.88 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The relevance of GB virus C/hepatitis G virus (GBV-C/HGV) infections in liver pathology remains unclear. To investigate the epidemiology of GBV-C/HGV in Athens, Greece, sera from 512 subjects were screened for present and past markers of GBV-C/HGV infection using a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and a serological assay, respectively. GBV-C/HGV RNA was detected in 18/56 (32.1%), 12/42 (28.6%), and 16/55 (29.1%) patients with acute hepatitis B, C, or non-A-E, and in 5/58 (8.6%) and 18/68 (26.5%) patients with chronic hepatitis B or C, respectively, as well as in 50/133 (37.6%) hemodialysis patients and 10/100 (10%) healthy individuals. The data indicated that GBV-C/HGV seroprevalence is age-dependent; thus, GBV-C/HGV RNA and anti-E2 positivity were shown to be associated with younger age [odds ratio 0.98, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0. 97-1.00, P = 0.017] and older age (odds ratio 1.03, 95% CI 1.01-1.05, P = 0.002), respectively. No significant associations were identified between GBV-C/HGV RNA status and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels in either hepatitis or hemodialysis patients. Nevertheless, GBV-C/HGV RNA-positive acute non-A-E hepatitis patients were more likely to manifest a more severe clinical form of acute hepatitis (P = 0.024). Phylogenetic analysis of partial 5'-untranslated region sequences isolated from 18 viremic individuals showed that most GBV-C/HGV strains circulating in the greater metropolitan area of Athens belong to the 2a subgroup. A genetically diverse type 2 sequence that may represent a novel subtype within group 2 was also characterized.
Journal of Medical Virology 08/2000; 61(3):319-26. · 2.22 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The concentration of T-cell receptor-rearrangement excision DNA circles (TREC) in peripheral-blood T cells is a marker of recent thymic emigrant alphabeta T cells. We studied the predictive ability of measurements of TREC for clinical outcome in HIV-1-infected individuals.
We measured TREC in peripheral-blood mononuclear cells with a real-time PCR assay. We studied 131 Greek participants in the Multicenter Hemophilia Cohort Study who had known HIV-1 seroconversion dates. The prognostic value of baseline TREC, CD4 T-cell count, and HIV-1 RNA concentration was assessed by Kaplan-Meier and Cox's regression analysis.
Four participants had progressed to AIDS by first blood sampling. Among the remaining 127 individuals, the median value of TREC per 10(6) cells was 6900 (IQR 2370-15604). Baseline TREC values were lower in the 53 who progressed to AIDS than in those who did not (geometric mean 2843 [95% CI 1468-5504] vs 6560 [4723-9113] per 10(6) cells; p=0.017). The relative hazard of AIDS, adjusted for plasma viral load, CD4 T-cell count, and age at seroconversion was 1.44 (95% CI 1.04-2.01; p=0.031) per ten-fold increase in TREC; that for death was 1.52 (1.12-2.06; p=0.007). The adjusted relative hazards of death were 2.91 (1.91-4.44; p<0.001) per ten-fold increase in plasma HIV-1 RNA load and 1.20 (1.04-1.38; p=0.014) per 100-cell decrease in CD4 T-cell count.
The concentration of TREC in the peripheral T-cell pool complements HIV-1 RNA load and CD4 T-cell count in predicting the rate of HIV-1 disease progression. Recent thymic emigrants have a role in the pathogenesis of HIV-1 disease.
The Lancet 02/2000; 355(9204):599-604. · 39.21 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An RT-PCR assay using primers from the 5'-UTR of the GBV-C/HGV genome was used to detect viremia, and a serological assay was used to detect past exposure to GBV-C/HGV, in sera from 106 imprisoned Greek intravenous drug users. High seroprevalence rates indicative of the parenteral route of transmission of the virus were found (32.1% for GBV-C RNA and 46.2% for anti-GBV-C E2). These rates were nonetheless lower in comparison to the corresponding rates of HCV infection markers (64.2% for HCV RNA and 77.4% for anti-HCV). Statistically significant univariate associations were observed between GBV-C-RNA positivity and younger age (P=0.006) and HCV-RNA positivity (P=0.024), as well as with higher serum alanine aminotransferase levels (P< 0.001); this latter association was shown to be independent of coinfection with HCV and of age by a multiple logistic regression model. Apparently, GBV-C/HGV had spread readily by needle-sharing in prison, while causing acute subclinical hepatitis in infected inmates. Phylogenetic analysis of the partial 5'-UTR of the GBV-C/HGV genome from 16 seropositive individuals, which delineated their grouping within genotype 2, also revealed a close genetic relationship between two sets of sequences from 4 drug addicts, 3 of whom admitted to sharing needles while imprisoned.
Journal of Medical Virology 11/1998; 56(3):246-52. · 2.22 Impact Factor