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Hum Immunol. 2002 Nov;63(11):1026-32.

Association of high HIV-1 RNA levels and homozygosity at HLA class II DRB1 in adults coinfected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis in Harare, Zimbabwe.

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  • 1Department of Immunology, University of Zimbabwe Medical School, Harare, Zimbabwe.


HIV-1 mRNA levels (virus load) were quantified for 191 pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) patients and 132 HIV-1 seropositive controls. Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I and II genes were typed for 188 patients and 121 HIV-1 seropositive controls. The mean log virus load was higher among cases than HIV-1 seropositive controls (p < 0.0001). Among the controls, mean log virus load was higher among males than females (p = 0.04). There was no association between virus load and homozygosity at HLA class I and II among the controls. In contrast, among the cases, HLA-DRB1 homozygosity was associated with high virus load (p = 0.008), conferring risk for rapid progression to AIDS, thus lending support to the heterozygote advantage hypothesis. The observed decreased virus load in HLA-DRB-1 heterozygotes may be due to a better control of M. tb. infection in the context of HIV-1 disease.

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