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Effects and mechanisms of interleukin-10 promoter polymorphisms on HIV-1 susceptibility and pathogenesis.

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HIV infection has risen to pandemic proportions. Interleukin-10 (IL-10), a potent antiinflammatory cytokine has been shown to enhance the establishment and persistence of chronic viral infections through inactivation of effector antiviral immune responses and it may also directly influence HIV-1 replication in cells of diverse lineages. IL-10 promoter polymorphisms have been shown to affect HIV-1 susceptibility and pathogenesis. However, the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. We investigated the relationship between IL-10 promoter variants, plasma IL-10 levels, and markers of disease outcome in chronically HIV-1-infected individuals. To investigate the mechanistic role of IL-10 and its genetic variants on HIV pathogenesis, we studied markers of activation on B cells, CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, and assessed effects on CD4+ T cell proliferation with and without blockade of the IL- 10 pathway. We used Taqman genotyping assays to genotype three IL-10 promoter single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in our study cohort. Baseline plasma IL-10 levels were measured using Luminex technology for 112 individuals. Viral load, CD4+ T cell counts and cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) immune responses were measured at baseline. The rate of CD4+ T cell decrease was calculated in 300 individuals with a median follow-up of 25 months. CD38, CD95, Ki67, IgG and PD-1, markers of activation or exhaustion were measured on B cells, and CD38, CD95, Ki67, HLA-DR and PD-1 were measured on CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in a subset of 63 individuals. CD4+ T cell proliferation was measured using Carboxyfluorescein succinimidyl ester (CFSE) assays, following IL-10 receptor blockade in a subset of 31 individuals. The IL-10 -1082G, -592A and -3575 variants were observed at frequencies of 0.3, 0.34 and 0.23 respectively, in our study cohort. Plasma IL-10 levels were significantly higher in the - 1082GG group than in the combined AA/AG group (p=0.0006). There was a significant association between the 592AA genotype and a greater breadth of CTL responses compared to the CC and CA (p= 0.002 and 0.004 respectively). The -592AA genotype associated significantly with an attenuated loss of CD4 cells (p= 0.0496), with -592AA having the least change in CD4 cells per year. The median expression of HLA-DR, a marker of T cell activation was significantly higher in the-1082AA group for CD8 cells (p= 0.047), and the - 592AA group for CD4 T cells (p= 0.01). The median expression of IgG on the surface of B cells was significantly higher in the -1082GG genotype and the -592CC genotype (p=0.0183 and 0.0659 respectively). Overall, IL-10 variants correlated with IL-10 expression and CD4 decline during chronic HIV-1 infection. IL-10 promoter variants may influence the rate of HIV-1 disease progression by regulating IL-10 levels, which in-turn, may affect the breadth of CTL responses. Furthermore, the increased expression of HLA-DR and PD-1 on CD8+ and CD4+ T cells, indicates that lower IL-10 levels are associated with increased immune activation and immune exhaustion. The increased expression of IgG on B cells, suggests that in a setting of lower IL-10, there is possibly a bias towards a Th2 immune response. These data suggest a significant role for IL-10 genetic variants and IL-10 in HIV pathogenesis. Further studies to determine whether and how the IL-10 pathway may be manipulated for therapeutic or vaccine strategies for HIV are warranted.


Thesis (Ph.D.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, 2012.


Interleukin-10., HIV infections--Alternative treatment., Pathogenic bacteria--Inactivation., Theses--Immunology.