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Genetic Condition Boosts Neuropathy Risk

Genetic Condition Boosts Neuropathy Risk


A common mutation found in cellular mitochondria increases by more than fivefold the risk of developing antiretroviral-related peripheral neuropathy, a degenerative nerve condition. According to a study in the September 2 edition of the journal AIDS, about 10% to 15% of Caucasians carry the mutation, which appears to make mitochondrial DNA more susceptible to Videx- and Zerit-related toxicities, the researchers reported. Although the mutation is most common among Caucasians, it appears among other racial groups as well. The researchers say this could be problematic in developing countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, where Zerit or generic versions of the drug are widely used. A study reported in the April edition of HIV Plus showed that high HIV viral loads or low CD4-cell counts before beginning antiretroviral therapy is strongly liked with the chances of developing neuropathy. Researchers have theorized that severely weakened immune systems could have resulted in nerve tissue damage and a predisposition to the condition.

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