J Neurovirol. 2023 Sep 11. doi: 10.1007/s13365-023-01169-5. Online ahead of print.
Relatively little research has been done in recent years to understand what leads to the unceasingly high rates of HIV sensory neuropathy despite successful antiretroviral treatment. In vivo and in vitro studies demonstrate neuronal damage induced by HIV and increasingly identified ART neurotoxicity involving mitochondrial dysfunction and innate immune system activation in peripheral nerves, ultimately all pathways resulting in enhanced pro-inflammatory cytokine secretion. Furthermore, many infectious/autoimmune/malignant diseases are influenced by the production-profile of pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines, due to inter-individual allelic polymorphism within cytokine gene regulatory regions. Associations of cytokine gene polymorphisms are investigated with the aim of identifying potential genetic markers for susceptibility to HIV peripheral neuropathy including ART-dependent toxic neuropathy. One hundred seventy-one people living with HIV in Northern Greece, divided into two sub-groups according to the presence/absence of peripheral neuropathy, were studied over a 5-year period. Diagnosis was based on the Brief Peripheral Neuropathy Screening. Cytokine genotyping was performed by sequence-specific primer-polymerase chain reaction. Present study findings identify age as an important risk factor (p < 0.01) and support the idea that cytokine gene polymorphisms are at least involved in HIV peripheral-neuropathy pathogenesis. Specifically, carriers of IL1a-889/rs1800587 TT genotype and IL4-1098/rs2243250 GG genotype disclosed greater relative risk for developing HIV peripheral neuropathy (OR: 2.9 and 7.7 respectively), while conversely, carriers of IL2+166/rs2069763 TT genotype yielded lower probability (OR: 3.1), all however, with marginal statistical significance. The latter, if confirmed in a larger Greek population cohort, may offer in the future novel genetic markers to identify susceptibility, while it remains significant that further ethnicity-oriented studies continue to be conducted in a similar pursuit.