Association of tumor necrosis factor-alpha and interferon gamma gene polymorphisms and their plasma levels in leprosy, HIV and other peripheral neuropathies

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Mycobacterium leprae and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) are causative agents known to be involved in nerve damage in leprosy and HIV-peripheral neuropathy (HIV-PN) respectively. Among other peripheral neuropathies the most common is diabetic neuropathy, which is metabolically induced. The proinflammatory cytokines TNF-α and IFN-γ have been implicated in the pathogenesis of peripheral neuropathy. The association between the plasma levels of these cytokines and their single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were investigated in leprosy neuropathy (LN), HIV-PN and other peripheral neuropathies (OPN).


Eighty-eight individuals with LN (PB = 36; MB = 52), 39 with HIV-PN, 52 patients with OPN, 101 HIV positive individuals without neuropathy (HIV) and 113 healthy subjects (HS) were included in the study. Plasma cytokine levels were measured by sandwich ELISA and one way ANOVA was carried out among the groups. SNPs of TNF-α- 308 G/A, −238 G/A and IFN-γ +874 T/A were investigated by amplification refractory mutation system polymerase chain reaction (ARMS-PCR). Their frequencies were compared between groups by Pearson’s chi squared test.


Plasma TNF-α and IFN-γ was significantly increased in LN (p < 0.05), HIV-PN (p < 0.05) and OPN (p < 0.05) as compared to HS. A significant association was found between IFN-γ +874 A/A genotype in LN (p < 0.05; OR = 7.9), HIV-PN (p < 0.05; OR = 8.9) and OPN (p < 0.05; OR = 8.9) as compared to HS.


Elevated levels of plasma TNF-α and IFN-γ and the association of IFN-γ +874 A/A genotype SNP in LN, HIV-PN and OPN suggests a common involvement of these cytokines in susceptibility/pathogenesis of peripheral neuropathy.

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