Volume 10 Supplement 1

Frontiers of Retrovirology: Complex retroviruses, retroelements and their hosts

Open Access

Frequent genetic defects in long-term survivors for more than 26 years in the absence of antiretroviral therapy in Korea: its association with ginseng treatment

  • Young-Keol Cho1,
  • Ba-Reum Kim1 and
  • Jung-Eun Kim1
Retrovirology201310(Suppl 1):P14

https://doi.org/10.1186/1742-4690-10-S1-P14

Published: 19 September 2013

Background

The association between long-term nonprogressors (LTNPs) and genetic defects in HIV-1 is not clear because of paucity of genetic defects in LTNPs. To date, there is only a report on gross deletion in 2 genes of HIV-1. Ginseng has been used as the premier medicinal plant for a thousand years [1]. Korean red ginseng (KRG) has been applied to HIV-1 infected patients since November 1991 [2]. We have found that most HIV-1 infected patients treated with KRG for a significant period slowly progressed to AIDS and revealed a high frequency of genetic defects.

Materials and methods

A total of 250 individuals were diagnosed with HIV-1 infection in Korea before 1993. Among the 250 individuals, we selected all who remain healthy for >18 years in the absence of antiretroviral therapy. They were four individuals (26, 25, 21, and 18 years from diagnosis). One patient who was diagnosed with HIV-1 in 1992 took a little KRG – less than 1,000 g. To investigate whether LTNPs are associated with genetic defects, we amplified near full-length HIV-1 sequences in 10 overlapping fragments (0.8 to 1.4 kb) using nested PCR with peripheral blood mononuclear cells. We compared the data with that in 4 control patients. Amount of KRG supplied was significantly higher in LTNPs (21,767-8,866 g) than 1,250-1,304 g in controls (P < 0.01).

Results

We obtained 1,339 and 386 PCR amplicons over 20 years in LTNPs and over 10 years in controls, respectively. All LTNPs revealed at least one genetic defect in 4 genes, whereas controls revealed it in both 5’ LTR/gag and nef genes. Overall genetic defects were significantly higher in LTNPs (11.4%) than 4.9% in controls (P < 0.001). Among the 4 LTNPs, one patient who had taken the least amount of KRG revealed significantly higher proportion of premature stop codons (5.6%) than 1.6% in 3 LTNPs (P < 0.01). There was a significant difference in the frequency of genetic defects between on KRG (10.9%) and baseline prior to KRG intake (4.3%) (P < 0.01). There was a significant correlation between amount of KRG supplied and proportion of genetic defects (r=0.80, P < 0.05). At single gene level, only the nef gene showed a significantly higher frequency of genetic defects in LTNPs (11.5%) than 3.6% in controls (P < 0.01).

Conclusion

These data show the possibility that frequent genetic defects that might be caused by KRG treatment are associated with long-term slow progression.

Authors’ Affiliations

(1)
Microbiology, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, SEOUL

References

  1. Attele AS, Wu JA, Yuan CS: Ginseng pharmacology: multiple constituents and multiple actions. Biochem Pharmacol. 1999, 58: 1685-93. 10.1016/S0006-2952(99)00212-9.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Sung H, Kang SM, Lee MS, Kim TG, Cho YK: Korean red ginseng slows depletion of CD4T cells in HIV-1-infected patients. Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2005, 12: 497-501.PubMed CentralPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright

© Cho et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2013

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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