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NHLBI AIDS Program


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HIV-Related Research in the Division of Lung Diseases (DLD)

HIV-Focused Research Goals

The Division of Lung Diseases (DLD) supports studies on cellular and molecular interactions between HIV and lung cells, pulmonary immune mechanisms important in the pulmonary pathophysiology of HIV, and the role of the microbiome (particularly the lung microbiome) on the progression of HIV and pulmonary complications of HIV. The program addresses HIV-associated infections, primarily tuberculosis (TB) and pneumocystis, and non-infectious lung diseases, including COPD, asthma, pulmonary hypertension and HIV-associated opportunistic infections. Additional areas include genetic aspects of tuberculosis in the lung, lung-specific delivery of therapeutic agents for tuberculosis, and behavioral interventions. In addition to investigator initiated grants, NHLBI has created research programs in these areas.

Previously Funded Studies

DLD-sponsored programs have included several initiatives focused on understanding the pathogenesis of HIV and HIV-associated co-infections in the lungs (e.g., the development of mathematical/ computational models, development of animal models of HIV-related lung disease, a separate initiative on primate models of HIV-associated lung disease, a series of TB academic awards and the TB Curriculum Coordinating Center consortium).

The Lung HIV Microbiome Programexternal link icon is the largest study to examine the composition of the lower respiratory tract microbiome in healthy individuals and the first to use the neutral model to compare the lung to the mouth.

The Lung HIV Study determined that abnormal diffusing capacity is common in HIV-infected individuals, including never smokers. It also identified associations between asthma and family history, obesity, allergic inflammation, prior infection, absence of ART, and increased HIV-stimulated cytokines.

The Prospective Study of the Pulmonary Complications of HIV Infection Study (PACS) obtained data in the era before anti-retroviral treatment was widely available. It confirmed a high rate of tuberculosis in HIV-infected patients in the United States, defined rates of various types of pneumonias in HIV- infected patients in the 1990s, determined that results of anergy testing should not be used to make individual patient decisions concerning preventive therapy for tuberculosis, and reported that episodes of Pneumocystis or bacterial pnuemonia were associated with permanent decreases in airflow and the diffusing capacity of carbon monoxide.

Stored serum samples from the Prospective Study of the Pulmonary Complications of HIV Infection Study (PACS) may be requested by qualified investigators through the NHLBI Biologic Specimen and Data Repository (BioLincc).

Future Directions

Selected lung research examples of interest to the NHLBI AIDS Program include, but are not limited to, studies that:

  • Extend HIV-related microbiome research to have better understanding of the function of the respiratory microbiome in HIV as compared to uninfected individuals, interactions of the upper and lower respiratory tract microbiome with microbiota at other body sites, and the impact of the microbiome on the blood and cardiovascular systems.
  • Study co-morbidities, especially pulmonary, cardiovascular, and blood co-morbidities, with a strong emphasis on translating the findings
  • Investigate pulmonary pathologies in the context of accelerated aging in HIV
  • Examine smoking-related morbidity and mortality
  • Study smoking cessation interventions and efficacy of existing therapies for chronic lung disease in HIV patients

Selected Lung-Related Publications Supported by the NHLBI AIDS Program

  • Gingo, MR, Wenzel SE, Steele C, Kessinger CJ, Lucht L, Lawther T, Busch M, Hillenbrand ME, Weinman R, Slivka WA, McMahon DK, Zhang Y, Sciurba FC, Morris A. Asthma diagnosis and airway bronchodilator response in HIV-infected patients. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2012 Mar;129(3):708-714. e8. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2011.11.015. Epub 2011 Dec 15. PubMed PMID: 22177327; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3294124.
  • Morris A, Beck JM, Schloss PD, Campbell TB, Crothers K, Curtis JL, Flores SC, Fontenot AP, Ghedin E, Huang L, Jablonski K, Kleerup E, Lynch SV, Sodergren E, Twigg H, Young VB, Bassis CM, Venkataraman A, Schmidt TM, Weinstock GM; on behalf of the Lung HIV Microbiome Project. Comparison of the Respiratory Microbiome in Healthy Non-Smokers and Smokers. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2013 Mar 14. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 23491408.
  • Lozupone C, Cota-Gomez A, Palmer BE, Linderman DJ, Charlson ES, Sodergren E, Mitreva M, Abubucker S, Martin J, Yao G, Campbell TB, Flores SC, Ackerman G, Stombaugh J, Ursell L, Beck JM, Curtis JL, Young VB, Lynch SV, Huang L, Weinstock GM, Knox KS, Twigg H, Morris A, Ghedin E, Bushman FD, Collman RG, Knight R, Fontenot AP; for the Lung HIV Microbiome Project. Widespread Colonization of the Lung by Tropheryma whipplei in HIV Infection. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2013 Feb 7. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 23392441.


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