Chemokine-receptor genes and AIDS risk

Publication Date: 
Thursday, May 9, 2002
Ramaley PA, French N, Kaleebu P, Gilks C, Whitworth J and Hill AVS

Schliekelman et al.1 have provided a model to quantify the speed at which HIV-resistance haplotypes can become enriched in a susceptible population through a delay in the onset of AIDS, permitting greater lifetime reproduction and the selection of AIDS-delaying haplotypes. But we question their conclusion1 that there could be a rapid evolution of resistance to AIDS onset in some African populations if the current HIV epidemic persists, as this depends on an untested assumption: that variant forms of the chemokine-receptor-5 (CCR5) gene impart selective advantages or disadvantages in Africa that are comparable to those reported for African Americans2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Here we test this premise in a large Ugandan population, and find that CCR5 variants are not associated with HIV/AIDS disease risk in Africa — the origin and centre of the current AIDS pandemic. This gene may therefore not be subject to rapid evolutionary change as a result of the HIV epidemic in Africa.

MRC/UVRI Authors: