Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
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Susceptibility to HIV infection and progression of AIDS in relation to variant alleles of mannose-binding lectin.

Lancet 1997 January 26
BACKGROUND: Low serum concentrations of mannose-binding lectin (MBL) are associated with increased susceptibility to recurrent infection. Three variant alleles in the MBL gene (B, C, and D), cause low serum concentrations of the protein. We investigated whether variant alleles of MBL affect susceptibility to infection with HIV and progression of AIDS.

METHODS: Between 1983 and 1986, all men who attended two clinics in Copenhagen for HIV screening were invited to take part in our study. We investigated the prevalence of variant alleles of MBL (detected by PCR) and assessed the prognostic value of these alleles and the corresponding serum MBL concentrations (measured by ELISA) in 96 homosexual men with HIV infection and in two control groups (123 healthy adults and 36 HIV-negative homosexual men at high risk of HIV infection because of their sexual behaviour). Follow-up was for up to 10 years.

FINDINGS: Eight (8%) of the HIV-infected men were homozygous for the variant MBL alleles compared with one (0.8%) of the healthy controls (p = 0.005) and none of the high-risk homosexual controls (p = 0.05). We found no significant association between MBL genotype and time from first positive HIV test to progression of AIDS (p = 0.8). However, in the 61 HIV-infected men who developed AIDS, the median survival time was significantly shorter after the AIDS diagnosis for men who were carriers of the variant alleles (both homozygous and heterozygous) than for men homozygous for the normal MBL allele (11 [IQR 4-21] vs 18 months [9-44], p = 0.007). Among men who developed AIDS, there was a significant difference in survival time between those with serum MBL concentrations below the lower quartile, those within the IQR, and those above the upper quartile (p = 0.02). Multivariate analysis showed that men who developed AIDS and had low serum MBL concentrations had an increased rate of rapid death, independently of CD4 T-cell counts at AIDS diagnosis.

INTERPRETATION: Our findings suggest that homozygous carriers of variant MBL alleles are at increased risk of HIV infection, either directly or indirectly because of increased susceptibility to coinfections. These alleles are also associated with a significantly shorter survival time after a diagnosis of AIDS.

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