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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2011 Apr;55(4):1428-35. doi: 10.1128/AAC.01589-10. Epub 2011 Jan 31.

Association of thymidylate synthase gene polymorphisms with stavudine triphosphate intracellular levels and lipodystrophy.

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  • 1Infectious Diseases Unit, Hospital de Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.


The antiviral activity and toxicity of stavudine (d4T) depend on its triphosphate metabolite, stavudine triphosphate (d4T-TP). Therefore, modifications in intracellular levels of d4T-TP may change the toxicity profile of stavudine. d4T-TP intracellular levels in peripheral blood mononuclear cells were determined with a prominence liquid chromatograph connected to a triple-quadruple mass spectrometer. Polymorphisms in the thymidylate synthase (TS), methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR), dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR), reduced folate carrier 1 (RFC1; SLC19A1), and cyclin D1 (CCND1) genes were determined by direct sequencing using an ABI Prism 3100 genetic analyzer or Fluidigm's Biomark system. The Mann-Whitney test, rank analysis of variance (with Bonferroni's adjusted post hoc comparisons), and logistic regression were used for the inferential analyses. Thirty-three stavudine-treated patients were enrolled in this cross-sectional study. d4T-TP intracellular levels were 11.50 fmol/10(6) cells (interquartile range [IQR] = 8.12 to 13.87 fmol/10(6) cells) in patients with a high-expression TS genotype (2/3G, 3C/3G, and 3G/3G), whereas in those with a low-expression TS genotype (2/2, 2/3C, and 3C/3C), they were 21.40 fmol/10(6) cells (IQR = 18.90 to 27.0 fmol/10(6) cells) (P < 0.0001). Polymorphisms in the MTHFR, DHFR, RFC1, and CCND1 genes did not influence the intracellular concentration of d4T-TP. d4T-TP levels were independently associated with the TS genotype (low versus high expression; odds ratio [OR] = 86.22; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 8.48 to nonestimable; P = 0.0023). The low-expression TS genotype was associated with the development of HIV/highly active antiretroviral therapy-associated lypodystrophy syndrome (HALS) (OR = 14.0; 95% CI = 2.09 to 108.0; P = 0.0032). Our preliminary data show that polymorphisms in the thymidylate synthase gene are strongly associated with d4T-TP intracellular levels and with development of HALS.

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