Peripheral neuropathy (PN) due to mitochondrial injury complicates HIV therapy with some nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs). Variation in the mitochondrial genome may influence susceptibility to NRTI toxicities. Two non-synonymous mitochondrial DNA polymorphisms, MTND1*LHON4216C (4216C) and MTND2*LHON4917G (4917G) were characterized in HIV-infected participants exposed to NRTIs in a randomized clinical trial. Among 250 self-identified white, non-Hispanic participants, symptomatic PN (> or = grade 1) developed in 70 (28%). Both 4216C (odds ratio (OR)=1.98 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.05-3.75); P=0.04) and 4917G (OR=2.93 (95% CI 1.25-6.89); P=0.01) were more frequent in PN cases. These two polymorphisms remained independently associated with PN after adjusting for age, baseline CD4 count, plasma HIV RNA level, and NRTI randomization arm; 4216C (OR=2.0 (95% CI 1.1-4.0) P=0.04) and 4917G (OR=5.5 (95% CI 1.6-18.7) P<0.01). When 4917G individuals were excluded from the analysis, the association with 4216C was no longer seen. The mitochondrial 4917G polymorphism may increase susceptibility to NRTI-associated PN.