[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: T-cell expression levels of CC chemokine receptor 5 (CCR5) are a critical determinant of HIV/AIDS susceptibility, and manifest wide variations (i) between T-cell subsets and among individuals and (ii) in T-cell activation-induced increases in expression levels. We demonstrate that a unifying mechanism for this variation is differences in constitutive and T-cell activation-induced DNA methylation status of CCR5 cis-regulatory regions (cis-regions). Commencing at an evolutionarily conserved CpG (CpG -41), CCR5 cis-regions manifest lower vs. higher methylation in T cells with higher vs. lower CCR5 levels (memory vs. naïve T cells) and in memory T cells with higher vs. lower CCR5 levels. HIV-related and in vitro induced T-cell activation is associated with demethylation of these cis-regions. CCR5 haplotypes associated with increased vs. decreased gene/surface expression levels and HIV/AIDS susceptibility magnify vs. dampen T-cell activation-associated demethylation. Methylation status of CCR5 intron 2 explains a larger proportion of the variation in CCR5 levels than genotype or T-cell activation. The ancestral, protective CCR5-HHA haplotype bears a polymorphism at CpG -41 that is (i) specific to southern Africa, (ii) abrogates binding of the transcription factor CREB1 to this cis-region, and (iii) exhibits a trend for overrepresentation in persons with reduced susceptibility to HIV and disease progression. Genotypes lacking the CCR5-Δ32 mutation but with hypermethylated cis-regions have CCR5 levels similar to genotypes heterozygous for CCR5-Δ32. In HIV-infected individuals, CCR5 cis-regions remain demethylated, despite restoration of CD4+ counts (≥800 cells per mm(3)) with antiretroviral therapy. Thus, methylation content of CCR5 cis-regions is a central epigenetic determinant of T-cell CCR5 levels, and possibly HIV-related outcomes.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2015 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Modifiers of symptom severity in patients with allergic rhinoconjunctivitis (AR) are imprecisely characterized. The hygiene hypothesis implicates childhood microbial exposure as a protective factor. Cockroach sensitization (C+) might be a proxy for microbial exposure.
We sought to determine whether C+ assayed by means of skin prick tests influenced AR symptom severity in controlled and natural settings.
Total symptom scores (TSSs) were recorded by 21 participants with house dust mite allergy (M+) in the natural setting and during repeated exposures of 3 hours per day to house dust mite allergen in an allergen challenge chamber (ACC). In M+ participants the peripheral blood and nasal cells were assayed for T-cell activation and transcriptomic profiles (by using RNA sequencing), respectively. Participants allergic to mountain cedar (n = 21), oak (n = 34), and ragweed (n = 23) recorded TSSs during separate out-of-season exposures to these pollens (any pollen sensitization [P+]) in the ACC; a subset recorded TSSs in the pollination seasons.
The hierarchy of TSSs (highest to lowest) among M+ participants tracked the following skin prick test sensitization statuses: M+P+C- > M+P+C+ > M+P-C- > M+P-C+. In nasal cells and peripheral blood the immune/inflammatory responses were rapidly resolved in M+P+C+ compared with M+P+C- participants. Among those allergic to pollen, C+ was associated with a lower TSS during pollen challenges and the pollination season. After aggregated analysis of all 4 ACC studies, C+ status was associated with a 2.8-fold greater likelihood of a lower TSS compared with C- status (odds ratio, 2.78; 95% CI, 1.18-6.67; P = .02).
C+ status is associated with mitigation of AR symptom severity in adults with AR.
Published by Elsevier Inc.
Full-text · Article · May 2015 · The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS Participants in the observational US Military HIV Natural History Study with documented estimated dates of seroconversion (EDS) who achieved virologic suppression with ART were evaluated. Markers indicative of immune activation, dysfunction, and responsiveness were determined. Responses to hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccine, an indicator of in vivo immune function, were also assessed. The timing of ART was indexed to the EDS and/or entry into the cohort. The CD4+ counts in HIV-1-uninfected populations were surveyed.
No preview · Article · Nov 2014 · JAMA Internal Medicine
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The severity of allergic rhinoconjunctivitis (AR) symptomatology elicited after exposure to pollen in the absence versus the presence of confounding cofactors, such as in a pollen challenge chamber (PCC) and the natural pollinating season, respectively, might differ.
We sought to determine the correlation of AR severity in the natural season versus out-of-season PCC exposures.
Twenty-four Virginia live oak (VLO)-positive, 14 VLO-negative, 16 mountain cedar (MC)-positive, 8 MC-negative, and 26 ragweed-positive participants recorded AR symptoms (total symptom score [TSS]) during the VLO, MC, and ragweed pollinating seasons and during 2 consecutive PCC exposures of 3 hours each to these pollens separately.
The TSSs recorded before the natural season were higher than the pre-PCC values. This prepriming was greater among VLO(+) than MC(+) participants, and it blunted further increases in TSSs during the VLO natural season. Nonatopic participants were nonreactive in the PCC. There was wide variation in the level of AR symptomatology after exposure to VLO, MC, or ragweed pollen in the PCC. Prepriming formed the basis for higher AR responses observed in the natural season than in the PCC, resulting in the identification of distinct PCC/natural season endophenotypes and a partial correlation between the TSSs recorded in the natural season versus those recorded in the PCC (r = 0.34, 0.54, and 0.65 for VLO(+), MC(+), and ragweed-positive participants, respectively).
Prepriming in the natural pollinating season might obscure the true correlation between AR severity in the natural season versus the PCC. By mitigating confounding cofactors, PCC exposures have utility for evaluation of novel AR therapeutics.
No preview · Article · Dec 2013 · The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Up to 90% HIV-1 positive intravenous drug users (IDUs) are co-infected with HCV. Although best recognized for its function as a major co-receptor for cell entry of HIV, CC chemokine receptor 5 (CCR5) has also been implicated in the pathogenesis of HCV infection. Here, we investigated whether CCR5 haplotypes influence HIV-1 and HCV seropositivity among 373 Caucasian IDUs from Estonia.
Of these IDUs, 56% and 44% were HIV and HCV seropositive, respectively, and 47% were coinfected. 500 blood donors seronegative for HIV and HCV were also evaluated. CCR5 haplotypes (HHA to HHG*2) were derived after genotyping nine CCR2-CCR5 polymorphisms. The association between CCR5 haplotypes with HIV and/or HCV seropositivity was determined using logistic regression analysis. Co-variates included in the models were length of intravenous drug use, HBV serostatus and copy number of CCL3L1, the gene encoding the most potent HIV-suppressive chemokine and ligand for CCR5.
Compared to IDUs seronegative for both HCV and HIV (HCV-/HIV-), IDUs who were HCV+/HIV- and HCV+/HIV+were 92% and 82%, respectively, less likely to possess the CCR5-HHG*1 haplotype, after controlling for co-variates (Padjusted = 1.89×10(-4) and 0.003, respectively). This association was mostly due to subjects bearing the CCR5 HHE and HHG*1 haplotype pairs. Approximately 25% and<10% of HCV-/HIV- IDUs and HCV-/HIV- blood donors, respectively, possessed the HHE/HHG*1 genotype.
Our findings suggest that HHG*1-bearing CCR5 genotypes influence HCV seropositivity in a group of Caucasian IDUs.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Results: Mean TSS decreased over the three PCC exposures, but the magnitude of the decline was greater in those receiving USCIT compared with those in the placebo arm (decline in TSS of 1.34 versus 0.30), reaching a trend for statistical significance (P=0.198). IL-10 levels in nasal secretions were lower in the URSCIT compared to the placebo arm, both before PCC visit 2 (log2 difference= -1.79, P=0.030] and after PCC visit 3 (log2 difference = -1.73, P= 0.034). There was a trend for lower IL-6 levels in the URSCIT arm after visits 2 and 3 compared with the placebo arm (log2 differences of -1.09, P=0.074 and -1.67, P=0.127, respectively). Comparison of the fold changes in the gene expression levels by RNA-Seq at post-visit 1 vs. post-visit 3 demonstrated that a greater number of genes had lower expression levels in the URSCIT compared to the placebo arm. Among the genes showing the most significant changes over time was Fibronectin 1, with lower levels in the placebo arm compared to the URSCIT arm.
Conclusion: Following challenge with VLO, compared with placebo, URSCIT associates with a trend in reduced symptoms and two correlates of protection: lower IL-10 levels in nasal secretions and resistance to a decline in Fibronectin 1 levels, a correlate of a Th1 responses. These findings also highlight the utility of PCC in clinical trials as well as pathogenesis studies for allergic rhinoconjunctivitis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The relationship between the timing of the initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART) after infection with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and the recovery of CD4+ T-cell counts is unknown.
In a prospective, observational cohort of persons with acute or early HIV-1 infection, we determined the trajectory of CD4+ counts over a 48-month period in partially overlapping study sets: study set 1 included 384 participants during the time window in which they were not receiving ART and study set 2 included 213 participants who received ART soon after study entry or sometime thereafter and had a suppressed plasma HIV viral load. We investigated the likelihood and rate of CD4+ T-cell recovery to 900 or more cells per cubic millimeter within 48 months while the participants were receiving viral-load-suppressive ART.
Among the participants who were not receiving ART, CD4+ counts increased spontaneously, soon after HIV-1 infection, from the level at study entry (median, 495 cells per cubic millimeter; interquartile range, 383 to 622), reached a peak value (median, 763 cells per cubic millimeter; interquartile range, 573 to 987) within approximately 4 months after the estimated date of infection, and declined progressively thereafter. Recovery of CD4+ counts to 900 or more cells per cubic millimeter was seen in approximately 64% of the participants who initiated ART earlier (≤4 months after the estimated date of HIV infection) as compared with approximately 34% of participants who initiated ART later (>4 months) (P<0.001). After adjustment for whether ART was initiated when the CD4+ count was 500 or more cells per cubic millimeter or less than 500 cells per cubic millimeter, the likelihood that the count would increase to 900 or more cells per cubic millimeter was lower by 65% (odds ratio, 0.35), and the rate of recovery was slower by 56% (rate ratio, 0.44), if ART was initiated later rather than earlier. There was no association between the plasma HIV RNA level at the time of initiation of ART and CD4+ T-cell recovery.
A transient, spontaneous restoration of CD4+ T-cell counts occurs in the 4-month time window after HIV-1 infection. Initiation of ART during this period is associated with an enhanced likelihood of recovery of CD4+ counts. (Funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and others.).
Full-text · Article · Jan 2013 · New England Journal of Medicine
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Transcriptional Activity of CCL2 reporter vectors in normal human astrocytes. Primary human astrocytes were transfected with the indicated reporter vectors and were left untreated (panel A) or treated with TNF-α (panel B). The cells were lysed after 24 h after transfection and luciferase values were measured as indicated in the Methods. Data is from three independent experiments each done in duplicate. Statistical significance was calculated using Student’s t test and was found not to be significant (p>0.3).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: LPS induction of CCL2 in PBMC. Freshly isolated PBMC were either left untreated or treated with LPS for 3 h and total RNA extracted as outlined in the Methods. qRT-PCR was used to assess CCL2 expression and fold increase following LPS treatment versus the untreated samples was calculated using the ΔΔCt method. 18S rRNA was used as a normalizer. Data shown are from two independent donors and statistical significance was calculated using Student’s t test (*, p = 0.01, **p = 0.03).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: CC chemokine ligand 2 (CCL2) is the most potent monocyte chemoattractant and inter-individual differences in its expression level have been associated with genetic variants mapping to the cis-regulatory regions of the gene. An A to G polymorphism in the CCL2 enhancer region at position -2578 (rs1024611; A>G), was found in most studies to be associated with higher serum CCL2 levels and increased susceptibility to a variety of diseases such as HIV-1 associated neurological disorders, tuberculosis, and atherosclerosis. However, the precise mechanism by which rs1024611influences CCL2 expression is not known. To address this knowledge gap, we tested the hypothesis that rs1024611G polymorphism is associated with allelic expression imbalance (AEI) of CCL2. We used haplotype analysis and identified a transcribed SNP in the 3'UTR (rs13900; C>T) can serve as a proxy for the rs1024611 and demonstrated that the rs1024611G allele displayed a perfect linkage disequilibrium with rs13900T allele. Allele-specific transcript quantification in lipopolysaccharide treated PBMCs obtained from heterozygous donors showed that rs13900T allele were expressed at higher levels when compared to rs13900C allele in all the donors examined suggesting that CCL2 is subjected to AEI and that that the allele containing rs1024611G is preferentially transcribed. We also found that AEI of CCL2 is a stable trait and could be detected in newly synthesized RNA. In contrast to these in vivo findings, in vitro assays with haplotype-specific reporter constructs indicated that the haplotype bearing rs1024611G had a lower or similar transcriptional activity when compared to the haplotype containing rs1024611A. This discordance between the in vivo and in vitro expression studies suggests that the CCL2 regulatory region polymorphisms may be functioning in a complex and context-dependent manner. In summary, our studies provide strong functional evidence and a rational explanation for the phenotypic effects of the CCL2 rs1024611G allele.