Polymorphisms in CAMKK2 may predict sensory neuropathy in African HIV patients
BACKGROUND Peripheral neuropathy (PN) is the most common neurological complication of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and often goes unrecognized. This ailment has a significant debilitating impact on the quality of life of HIV/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) patients. HIV-associated sensory neuropathy (HIV-SN) is the most common PN in HIV infected patients. In India, although HIV has emerged as a public health menace, the burden of HIV-SN has not yet been well-defined. MATERIALS AND METHODS We used the Brief Peripheral Neuropathy Screening (BPNS) tool, validated by the AIDS Clinical Trial Group (ACTG) and carried out a cross-sectional study to determine the prevalence of HIV-SN and its associated factors among highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) naive HIV patients. HIV-SN is defined as the presence of neuropathic symptoms and at least an abnormal perception of vibrations of a 128 Hz tuning fork on the great toe or abnormal ankle reflexes or both. RESULTS Out of 75 patients studied, 40% had clinical HIV-SN and nerve conduction study (NCS) confirmed its presence in all of them. In patients with neuropathy, the mean hemoglobin was 10.76 g/dl (P < 0.0001), mean serum albumin 2.7 g/dl (P < 0.001), mean body mass index (BMI) 17.18 kg/m 2 (P < 0.0001), and mean CD4 T-cell count was 497/μl; whereas, in patients not having neuropathy the same values were 12.81 g/dl, 3.64 g/dl, 20.22 kg/m 2 , and 678/μl, respectively. Patients recall and clinical chart review showed that, 40% had symptoms even prior to HAART initiation. CONCLUSIONS HIV-SN is more common among pre-HAART patients with low level of hemoglobin, serum albumin, BMI, and CD4 T-cell count. Hence, it is found that neuropathy can be prevented by improving immune as well as nutritional status of HIV infected patients. So, BPNS, being a simple diagnostic tool should therefore be routinely applied to screen the neuropathy, to minimize the negative impact it has on the quality of life in patients with HIV infection.