Rectal 1% Tenofovir Gel Use Associates with Altered Epidermal Protein Expression

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Rectal 1% Tenofovir Gel Use Associates with Altered Epidermal Protein Expression

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Title: Rectal 1% Tenofovir Gel Use Associates with Altered Epidermal Protein Expression
Author: Romas, Laura; Birse, Kenzie; Mayer, Kenneth H.; Abou, Max; Westmacott, Garrett; Giguere, Rebecca; Febo, Irma; Cranston, Ross D.; Carballo-Diéguez, Alex; McGowan, Ian; Burgener, Adam

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Citation: Romas, L., K. Birse, K. H. Mayer, M. Abou, G. Westmacott, R. Giguere, I. Febo, et al. 2016. “Rectal 1% Tenofovir Gel Use Associates with Altered Epidermal Protein Expression.” AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses 32 (10-11): 1005-1015. doi:10.1089/aid.2015.0381.
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Abstract: Abstract Rectal use of a 1% tenofovir (TFV) gel is currently being evaluated for HIV prevention. While careful assessment of mucosal safety of candidate microbicides is a primary concern, tools to assess mucosal toxicity are limited. Mass spectrometry-based proteomics is a sensitive and high-throughput technique that can provide in-depth information on inflammation processes in biological systems. In this study, we utilized a proteomics approach to characterize mucosal responses in study participants involved in a phase 1 clinical trial of a rectal TFV-based gel. Project Gel was a phase 1 randomized (1:1), double-blind, multisite, placebo-controlled trial in which 24 participants received rectal TFV or a universal placebo [hydroxyethyl cellulose (HEC)] over a course of 8 daily doses. Rectal mucosal swabs were collected after 0, 1, and 8 doses and were analyzed by label-free tandem mass spectrometry. Differential protein expression was evaluated using a combination of paired (time-effects) and unpaired (across study arm) t-tests, and multivariate [least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (LASSO)] modeling. Within the TFV arm, 7% (17/249, p < .05) and 10% (25/249, p < .05) of total proteins changed after 1 and 8 daily applications of TFV gel, respectively, compared to 3% (7/249, p < .05) and 6% (16/249, p < .05) in the HEC arm. Biofunctional analysis associated TFV use with a decrease in epidermal barrier proteins (adj. p = 1.21 × 10−10). Multivariate modeling identified 13 proteins that confidently separated TFV gel users (100% calibration and 96% cross-validation accuracy), including the epithelial integrity factors (FLMNB, CRNN, CALM), serpins (SPB13, SPB5), and cytoskeletal proteins (VILI, VIME, WRD1). This study suggested that daily rectal applications of a 1% TFV gel may be associated with mucosal proteome changes involving epidermal development. Further assessment of more extended use of TFV-gel is recommended to validate these initial associations.
Published Version: doi:10.1089/aid.2015.0381
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