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HLA polymorphisms and detection of kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus DNA in saliva and peripheral blood among children and their mothers in the uganda sickle cell anemia KSHV Study

Mercy Guech-Ongey1*, Murielle Verboom2, Ruth M Pfeiffer3, Thomas F Schulz4, Christopher M Ndugwa5, Anchilla M Owor5, Paul M Bakaki6, Kishor Bhatia1, Constança Figueiredo2, Britta Eiz-Vesper2, Rainer Blasczyk2 and Sam M Mbulaiteye1

Author Affiliations

1 Infections and Immunoepidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (DCEG), National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland, USA

2 Institute for Transfusion Medicine, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany

3 Biostatistics Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (DCEG), National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland, USA

4 Institute of Virology, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany

5 Makerere College of Health Sciences, Kampala, Uganda

6 Case Western Reserve Univ., Cleveland, OH, USA

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Infectious Agents and Cancer 2010, 5:21  doi:10.1186/1750-9378-5-21

Published: 18 November 2010


Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV, also called Human herpesvirus 8 or HHV8) is a γ-2 herpesvirus that causes Kaposi sarcoma. KSHV seroprevalence rates vary geographically with variable rates recorded in different sub Sahara African countries, suggesting that effects of genetic and/or environmental factors may influence the risk of infection. One study conducted in South Africa, where KSHV seroprevalence is relatively low, found that carriage of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) alleles HLA-A*6801, HLA-A*30, HLA-A*4301, and HLA-DRB1*04 was associated with increased shedding of KSHV DNA in saliva. Confirmation of those results would strengthen the hypothesis that genetic factors may influence KSHV distribution by modulating KSHV shedding in saliva. To explore these associations in another setting, we used high resolution HLA-A, B, and DRB1 typing on residual samples from the Uganda Sickle Cell Anemia KSHV study, conducted in a high KSHV seroprevalence region, to investigate associations between HLA and KSHV shedding in saliva or peripheral blood among 233 children and their mothers. HLA-A and HLA-DRB1 alleles were not associated with KSHV shedding in our study, but our study was small and was not adequately powered to exclude small associations. In exploratory analyses, we found marginal association of KSHV DNA shedding in saliva but not in peripheral blood among children carrying HLA- B*4415 and marginal association of KSHV DNA shedding in peripheral blood but not in saliva among children carrying HLA- B*0801 alleles. The contribution of individual HLA polymorphisms to KSHV shedding is important but it may vary in different populations. Larger population-based studies are needed to estimate the magnitude and direction of association of HLA with KSHV shedding and viral control.