Objectives: Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are innate immune sensors that are integral to resisting chronic and opportunistic infections. Mounting evidence implicates TLR polymorphisms in susceptibilities to various infectious diseases, including HIV-1. We investigated the impact of TLR single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) on clinical outcome in a seroincident cohort of HIV-1-infected volunteers.
Design: We analyzed TLR SNPs in 201 antiretroviral treatment-naive HIV-1-infected volunteers from a longitudinal seroincident cohort with regular follow-up intervals (median follow-up 4.2 years, interquartile range 4.4). Participants were stratified into two groups according to either disease progression, defined as peripheral blood CD4+ T-cell decline over time, or peak and setpoint viral load.
Methods: Haplotype tagging SNPs from TLR2, TLR3, TLR4, and TLR9 were detected by mass array genotyping, and CD4+ T-cell counts and viral load measurements were determined prior to antiretroviral therapy initiation. The association of TLR haplotypes with viral load and rapid progression was assessed by multivariate regression models using age and sex as covariates.
Results: Two TLR4 SNPs in strong linkage disequilibrium [1063 A/G (D299G) and 1363 C/T (T399I)] were more frequent among individuals with high peak viral load compared with low/moderate peak viral load (odds ratio 6.65, 95% confidence interval 2.19–20.46, P < 0.001; adjusted P = 0.002 for 1063 A/G). In addition, a TLR9 SNP previously associated with slow progression was found less frequently among individuals with high viral setpoint compared with low/moderate setpoint (odds ratio 0.29, 95% confidence interval 0.13–0.65, P = 0.003, adjusted P = 0.04).
Conclusion: This study suggests a potentially new role for TLR4 polymorphisms in HIV-1 peak viral load and confirms a role for TLR9 polymorphisms in disease progression.