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Polymorphisms in the interleukin-7 receptor α gene and mortality in untreated HIV-infected individuals

Hartling, Hans J.a,b; Thørner, Lise W.a,b; Erikstrup, Christianc; Zinyama, Rutendod,e; Kallestrup, Perf; Gomo, Exneviae; Nielsen, Susanne D.a; Ullum, Henrikb

doi: 10.1097/QAD.0b013e3283606c2d
Clinical Science: Concise Communication

Objectives: Recently, polymorphisms in the gene encoding the interleukin-7 receptor α (IL7Rα) have been shown to influence the CD4 cell count in HIV-infected individuals. The objective of this study was to examine the impact of 10 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in or in close proximity to the IL7Rα on mortality among 152 untreated HIV infected in a Zimbabwean cohort.

Methods: Patients were followed prospectively, median time of follow-up 3.9 year. SNPs were genotyped using competitive allele-specific PCR. Cox regression was used for survival analyses.

Results: We found an increased mortality among carriers of the IL7Rα, rs6897932, T-allele (hazard ratio: 2.56 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.22–5.35], P = 0.013). This association remained significant after adjusting for age, sex, baseline HIV-RNA and baseline CD4 cell count (hazard ratio = 2.36 (95% CI 1.06–2.58), P = 0.036).

Conclusion: The results suggest an association between the IL7Rα, rs6897932, T-allele and increased mortality among untreated HIV-infected, Zimbabwean individuals.

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aViroimmunology Research Unit, Department of Infectious Diseases, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospital

bDepartment of Clinical Immunology, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen

cDepartment of Clinical Immunology, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark

dMedical Research Council of Zimbabwe, Ministry of Health and Child Welfare

eDepartment of Medical Laboratory Sciences, University of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe

fCenter for Global Health, Department of Public Health, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark.

Correspondence to Hans J. Hartling, MD, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark. Tel: +45 35 457 717; e-mail:

Received 19 December, 2012

Revised 6 February, 2013

Accepted 20 February, 2013

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© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.