The monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 is a potent cell signaling molecule involved in the activation of mononuclear phagocytes, but its role in the pathogenesis of HIV-associated dementia (HAD) has been unclear. In the September 30 early edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Enrique Gonzalez and colleagues at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, US show that a mutant MCP-1 allele influences susceptibility to HIV-1 infection and AIDS dementia (PNAS, DOI/10.1073/pnas.202357499, September 30, 2002).

Gonzalez et al. studied cohorts of HIV-1 infected adults and children and observed that homozygosity for the MCP-1 –2578G allele was associated with a 50% reduction in the risk of acquiring HIV-1. But, once HIV-1 infection was established, the same MCP-1 genotype was associated with accelerated disease progression and a 4.5-fold increased risk of developing HAD. In addition, they showed that at the molecular level the mutant allele...

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