Background. Botswana is among the world's countries with the highest rates of HIV infection. It is not known whether or not this susceptibility to infection is due to genetic factors in the population. Accumulating evidence, however, points to the role of erythrocytes as potential mediators of infection. We therefore sought to establish the role, if any, of some erythrocyte antigens in HIV infection in a cross-section of the population. Methods. 348 (346 HIV-negative and 2 HIV-positive) samples were obtained from the National Blood Transfusion Service as residual samples, while 194 HIV-positive samples were obtained from the Botswana-Harvard HIV Reference Laboratory. Samples were grouped for twenty three antigens. Chi-square or Fischer Exact analyses were used to compare the frequencies of the antigens in the two groups. A stepwise, binary logistic regression was used to study the interaction of the various antigens in the light of HIV-status. Results. The Rh antigens C and E were associated with HIV-negative status, while blood group Jka, P1 and Lub were associated with HIV-positive status. A stepwise binary logistic regression analysis yielded group C as the most significant protective blood group while Lub and P1 were associated with significantly higher odds ratio in favor of HIV-infection. The lower-riskassociated group C was significantly lower in Africans compared to published data for Caucasians and might partially explain the difference in susceptibility to HIV-1. Conclusion. The most influential antigen C, which also appears to be protective, is significantly lower in Africans than published data for Caucasians or Asians. On the other hand, there appear to be multiple antigens associated with increased risk that may override the protective role of C. A study of the distribution of these antigens in other populations may shed light on their roles in the HIV pandemic.
Motswaledi, M. S., Kasvosve, I., & Oguntibeju, O. O. (2016). Blood Group antigens C, Lub and P1 may have a role in HIV infection in Africans. PLoS ONE, 11(2). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0149883