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HIV-infected individuals continue to experience neurocognitive deterioration despite virologically successful treatments. While the cause remains unclear, evidence suggests that HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) may be associated with neurobehavioral dysfunction. Genetic variants have been explored to identify risk markers to determine neuropathogenesis of neurocognitive deterioration. Memory deficits and executive dysfunction are highly prevalent among HIV-infected adults. These conditions can affect their quality of life and HIV risk-taking behaviors. Single nucleotide polymorphisms in the SLC6A4, TPH2, and GALM genes may affect the activity of serotonin and increase the risk of HAND. The present study explored the relationship between SLC6A4, TPH2, and GALM genes and neurocognitive impairment in HIV-infected alcohol abusers. A total of 267 individuals were genotyped for polymorphisms in SLC6A4 5-HTTLPR, TPH2 rs4570625, and GALM rs6741892. To assess neurocognitive functions, the Short Category and the Auditory Verbal Learning Tests were used. TPH2 SNP rs4570625 showed a significant association with executive function in African American males (odds ratio 4.8, 95% CI, 1.5–14.8; ). Similarly, GALM SNP rs6741892 showed an increased risk with African American males (odds ratio 2.4, 95% CI, 1.2–4.9; ). This study suggests that TPH2 rs4570625 and GALM rs6741892 polymorphisms may be risk factors for HAND.


Originally published in Genetics Research International.

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