Braz J Infect Dis. 2019 Jan-Feb;23(1):53-59. doi: 10.1016/j.bjid.2018.12.002. Epub 2019 Feb 14.


Background: Mother-to-child-transmission (MTCT) is the main route of HIV-1 infection in children. Genetic studies suggest HLA-B alleles play an important role on HIV-1 transmission, progression, and control of HIV-1 infection.

Objective: To evaluate which polymorphisms of HLA-B are involved in HIV-1 MTCT.

Methods: Two independent reviewers performed a systematic review on search engines PubMed, Europe PMC, Cochrane, Scientific Electronic Library Online (SciELO), and Literatura Latino-americana e do Caribe em Ciências da Saúde (Lilacs), using the following key terms: "HIV infection", "HIV newborn", "HLA polymorphisms", "HLA-B", and "Mother to child transmission". All studies focusing on evaluation of HIV-1 MTCT, HIV infection evolution, and molecular analyses of HLA-B in children were selected.

Results: Nine studies fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Sixteen HLA-B alleles groups were associated with HIV-1 infection; seven of them (43.8%) were related to slow disease progression or reduced risk of MTCT, while six (37.5%) alleles groups were linked to a faster progression of HIV infection in children and to increased risk of MTCT. The available evidence suggest that HLA-B*57 group allele is associated with slow disease progression, while HLA-B*35 group allele is associated to increased risk of MTCT and rapid disease progression in infected children. The role of HLA-B*18, B*58 and B*44 are still controversial because they were associated to both, protection against MTCT, and to higher HIV replicative capacity, in different studies.

Conclusion: HLA-B*57 group allele can be protective against MTCT while HLA-B*35 groups alleles are consistently associated with HIV-1 MTCT.

Keywords: “HIV”; “HLA-B”; “Mother to child transmission”.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Disease Progression
  • HIV Infections / transmission*
  • HLA-B Antigens / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical*
  • Polymorphism, Genetic*
  • Risk Assessment


  • HLA-B Antigens