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1.  Impact of a Functional KIR2DS4 Allele on Heterosexual HIV-1 Transmission among Discordant Zambian Couples 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2011;203(4):487-495.
Killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIRs) and their HLA ligands interact to regulate natural killer (NK) cell function. KIR gene content and allelic variations are reported to influence human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 infection and pathogenesis. We investigated the impact of KIR genes on heterosexual HIV-1 transmission among 566 discordant couples from Lusaka, Zambia. KIR2DS4*001, the only allele of KIR2DS4 known to encode a functional activating receptor, was associated with relatively high viral load for HIV-1 in index (HIV-1 seroprevalent) partners (β [standard error (SE)], .17 [.8] log10; P = .04) and with accelerated transmission of HIV-1 to cohabiting seronegative partners (relative hazard [RH], 2.00; P = .004). The latter association was independent of the direction of transmission (male-to-female or female-to-male), genital ulcers, and carriage of the putative ligand (HLA-Cw*04). No KIR-gene variant in the initially seronegative partners was associated with HIV-1 acquisition or early viral load following seroconversion. Further analysis of NK cell function should clarify the role of KIR2DS4*001 in HIV-1 transmission.
doi:10.1093/infdis/jiq075
PMCID: PMC3071217  PMID: 21216870
2.  Disparate Associations of HLA Class I Markers with HIV-1 Acquisition and Control of Viremia in an African Population 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(8):e23469.
Background
Acquisition of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection is mediated by a combination of characteristics of the infectious and the susceptible member of a transmission pair, including human behavioral and genetic factors, as well as viral fitness and tropism. Here we report on the impact of established and potential new HLA class I determinants of heterosexual HIV-1 acquisition in the HIV-1-exposed seronegative (HESN) partners of serodiscordant Zambian couples.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We assessed the relationships of behavioral and clinically documented risk factors, index partner viral load, and host genetic markers to HIV-1 transmission among 568 cohabiting couples followed for at least nine months. We genotyped subjects for three classical HLA class I genes known to influence immune control of HIV-1 infection. From 1995 to December 2006, 240 HESNs seroconverted and 328 remained seronegative. In Cox proportional hazards models, HLA-A*68:02 and the B*42-C*17 haplotype in HESN partners were significantly and independently associated with faster HIV-1 acquisition (relative hazards = 1.57 and 1.55; p = 0.007 and 0.013, respectively) after controlling for other previously established contributing factors in the index partner (viral load and specific class I alleles), in the HESN partner (age, gender), or in the couple (behavioral and clinical risk score). Few if any previously implicated class I markers were associated here with the rate of acquiring infection.
Conclusions/Significance
A few HLA class I markers showed modest effects on acquisition of HIV-1 subtype C infection in HESN partners of discordant Zambian couples. However, the striking disparity between those few markers and the more numerous, different markers found to determine HIV-1 disease course makes it highly unlikely that, whatever the influence of class I variation on the rate of infection, the mechanism mediating that phenomenon is identical to that involved in disease control.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0023469
PMCID: PMC3157381  PMID: 21858133
4.  Association of chemokine receptor gene (CCR2-CCR5) haplotypes with acquisition and control of HIV-1 infection in Zambians 
Retrovirology  2011;8:22.
Background
Polymorphisms in chemokine (C-C motif) receptors 2 and 5 genes (CCR2 and CCR5) have been associated with HIV-1 infection and disease progression. We investigated the impact of CCR2-CCR5 haplotypes on HIV-1 viral load (VL) and heterosexual transmission in an African cohort. Between 1995 and 2006, cohabiting Zambian couples discordant for HIV-1 (index seropositive and HIV-1 exposed seronegative {HESN}) were monitored prospectively to determine the role of host genetic factors in HIV-1 control and heterosexual transmission. Genotyping for eight CCR2 and CCR5 variants resolved nine previously recognized haplotypes. By regression and survival analytic techniques, controlling for non-genetic factors, we estimated the effects of these haplotypic variants on a) index partner VL, b) seroconverter VL, c) HIV-1 transmission by index partners, d) HIV-1 acquisition by HESN partners.
Results
Among 567 couples, 240 virologically linked transmission events had occurred through 2006. HHF*2 homozygosity was associated with significantly lower VL in seroconverters (mean beta = -0.58, log10 P = 0.027) and the HHD/HHE diplotype was associated with significantly higher VL in the seroconverters (mean beta = 0.54, log10 P = 0.014) adjusted for age and gender in multivariable model. HHD/HHE was associated with more rapid acquisition of infection by the HESNs (HR = 2.0, 95% CI = 1.20-3.43, P = 0.008), after adjustments for index partner VL and the presence of genital ulcer or inflammation in either partner in Cox multivariable models. The HHD/HHE effect was stronger in exposed females (HR = 2.1, 95% CI = 1.14-3.95, P = 0.018).
Conclusions
Among Zambian discordant couples, HIV-1 coreceptor gene haplotypes and diplotypes appear to modulate HIV-1 VL in seroconverters and alter the rate of HIV-1 acquisition by HESNs. These associations replicate or resemble findings reported in other African and European populations.
doi:10.1186/1742-4690-8-22
PMCID: PMC3075214  PMID: 21429204
6.  Human Leukocyte Antigens and HIV Type 1 Viral Load in Early and Chronic Infection: Predominance of Evolving Relationships 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(3):e9629.
Background
During untreated, chronic HIV-1 infection, plasma viral load (VL) is a relatively stable quantitative trait that has clinical and epidemiological implications. Immunogenetic research has established various human genetic factors, especially human leukocyte antigen (HLA) variants, as independent determinants of VL set-point.
Methodology/Principal Findings
To identify and clarify HLA alleles that are associated with either transient or durable immune control of HIV-1 infection, we evaluated the relationships of HLA class I and class II alleles with VL among 563 seroprevalent Zambians (SPs) who were seropositive at enrollment and 221 seroconverters (SCs) who became seropositive during quarterly follow-up visits. After statistical adjustments for non-genetic factors (sex and age), two unfavorable alleles (A*3601 and DRB1*0102) were independently associated with high VL in SPs (p<0.01) but not in SCs. In contrast, favorable HLA variants, mainly A*74, B*13, B*57 (or Cw*18), and one HLA-A and HLA-C combination (A*30+Cw*03), dominated in SCs; their independent associations with low VL were reflected in regression beta estimates that ranged from −0.47±0.23 to −0.92±0.32 log10 in SCs (p<0.05). Except for Cw*18, all favorable variants had diminishing or vanishing association with VL in SPs (p≤0.86).
Conclusions/Significance
Overall, each of the three HLA class I genes had at least one allele that might contribute to effective immune control, especially during the early course of HIV-1 infection. These observations can provide a useful framework for ongoing analyses of viral mutations induced by protective immune responses.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0009629
PMCID: PMC2835758  PMID: 20224785

Results 1-6 (6)