Partial protective effect of CCR5-Delta 32 heterozygosity in a cohort of heterosexual Italian HIV-1 exposed uninfected individuals

AIDS Res Ther. 2006 Sep 25;3:22. doi: 10.1186/1742-6405-3-22.


Despite multiple sexual exposure to HIV-1 virus, some individuals remain HIV-1 seronegative (exposed seronegative, ESN). The mechanisms underlying this resistance remain still unclear, although a multifactorial pathogenesis can be hypothesised. Although several genetic factors have been related to HIV-1 resistance, the homozigosity for a mutation in CCR5 gene (the 32 bp deletion, i.e. CCR5-Delta32 allele) is presently considered the most relevant one. In the present study we analysed the genotype at CCR5 locus of 30 Italian ESN individuals (case group) who referred multiple unprotected heterosexual intercourse with HIV-1 seropositive partner(s), for at least two years. One hundred and twenty HIV-1 infected patients and 120 individuals representative of the general population were included as control groups. Twenty percent of ESN individuals had heterozygous CCR5-Delta 32 genotype, compared to 7.5% of HIV-1 seropositive and 10% of individuals from the general population, respectively. None of the analysed individuals had CCR5-Delta 32 homozygous genotype. Sequence analysis of the entire open reading frame of CCR5 was performed in all ESN subjects and no polymorphisms or mutations were identified. Moreover, we determined the distribution of C77G variant in CD45 gene, which has been previously related to HIV-1 infection susceptibility. The frequency of the C77G variant showed no significant difference between ESN subjects and the two control groups. In conclusion, our data show a significantly higher frequency of CCR5-Delta 32 heterozygous genotype (p = 0.04) among the Italian heterosexual ESN individuals compared to HIV-1 seropositive patients, suggesting a partial protective role of CCR5-Delta 32 heterozygosity in this cohort.