Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

A non-synonymous polymorphism in IL-23R Gene (rs1884444) is associated with reduced risk to schistosomiasis-associated Immune Reconstitution Inflammatory Syndrome in a Kenyan population

George O Ogola12, Collins Ouma2*, Walter GZO Jura2, Erick O Muok1, Robert Colebunders3 and Pauline N Mwinzi1

Author Affiliations

1 Centre for Global Health Research, Kenya Medical Research Institute, Kisumu, Kenya

2 Maseno University, Maseno, Kenya

3 Department of Clinical Sciences, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2014, 14:316  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-14-316

Published: 10 June 2014



Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Schistosomiasis co-infection is common among residents at the shores of Lake Victoria in Kenya. About 36% of this population initiating antiretroviral therapy (ART) experience Immune Reconstitution Inflammatory Syndrome (IRIS) that complicates recovery. Several IL-23R alleles have been associated with susceptibility to both autoimmune and inflammatory diseases through T-helper type 17 (TH17) cells. However, whether or not variants within the IL-23R increase susceptibility to IRIS in western Kenya is unknown. The objective of the current study was to determine the association between IL-23R gene polymorphisms, CD4+ cell counts and HIV RNA levels and IRIS in HIV and Schistosoma mansoni co-infected patients undergoing highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART).


A three-month case–control study was conducted on antiretroviral naïve schistosomiasis/HIV co-infected fishermen starting HAART in Uyoma Rarieda, Siaya County, Kenya. Seventy one patients were sampled at baseline and followed up for three months, to establish if they developed Schistosoma-related IRIS. In addition, the CD4+ cell counts and HIV RNA levels were determined in pre- and post-administration of HAART. Variations at five polymorphic sites of IL-23R (rs1884444, rs11465754, rs6682925, rs7530511 and rs7539625) based on >10% minor allele frequency in Yoruban reference population was determined using Allelic Discrimination Assay. The association between the five variants and susceptibility to IRIS was determined using logistic regression while controlling for potential confounders. In addition, the functional differences between the baseline CD4 + Cell counts and viral loads were determined using medians while across IL-23R genotypes were determined using Kruskal-Wallis tests.


Overall, 26 (36.6%) patients developed schistosomiasis-associated IRIS at a median age of 35.5 years. Carriage of the TT genotype at the non-synonymous rs1884444 T > G relative to GG, was associated with a decreased risk of schistosomiasis-associated IRIS (OR, 0.25, 95% CI, 0.07-0.96, P = 0.043) while both baseline CD4+ cell counts and viral loads had no association with IRIS.


These findings indicate that the non-synonymous variant rs1884444 T > G of IL-23R is associated with a decreased risk to schistosomiasis-associated IRIS. However, additional studies in a larger cohort and with an all inclusive polymorphic variants in the synonymous and non-synonymous regions need to be evaluated.

HAART; IRIS; Non-synonymous; SNP; Schistosomiasis