ObjectivePlasma kynurenine/tryptophan ratio, a biomarker of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase-1 (IDO) activity, is a strong independent predictor of mortality in HIV-infected Ugandans initiating antiretroviral therapy (ART) and may play a key role in HIV pathogenesis. We performed a genome-wide study to identify potential host genetic determinants of kynurenine/tryptophan ratio in HIV-infected ART-suppressed Ugandans.
Design/methodsWe performed genome-wide and exome array genotyping and measured plasma kynurenine/tryptophan ratio during the initial 6-12 months of suppressive ART in Ugandans. We evaluated more than 16 million single nucleotide polymorphisms in association with log10 kynurenine/tryptophan ratio using linear mixed models adjusted for cohort, sex, pregnancy, and ancestry.
ResultsAmong 597 Ugandans, 62% were woman, median age was 35, median baseline CD4 cell count was 135 cells/μl, and median baseline HIV-1 RNA was 5.1 log10 copies/ml. Several polymorphisms in candidate genes TNF, IFNGR1, and TLR4 were associated with log10 kynurenine/tryptophan ratio (P < 5.0 × 10). An intergenic polymorphism between CSPG5 and ELP6 was genome-wide significant, whereas several others exhibited suggestive associations (P < 5.0 × 10), including genes encoding protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPRM and PTPRN2) and the vitamin D metabolism gene, CYP24A1. Several of these single nucleotide polymorphisms were associated with markers of inflammation, coagulation, and monocyte activation, but did not replicate in a small US cohort (N = 262; 33% African-American).
ConclusionOur findings highlight a potentially important role of IFN-γ, TNF-α, and Toll-like receptor signaling in determining IDO activity and subsequent mortality risk in HIV-infected ART-suppressed Ugandans. These results also identify potential novel pathways involved in IDO immunoregulation. Further studies are needed to confirm these findings in treated HIV-infected populations.