Cytokine Gene Polymorphisms and Viral Infections

Author(s): Prashant Sakharkar* and Subrata Deb

In 2014, over 119,000 solid organ transplants were performed worldwide, whereas, more than 30,000 were performed in the United States alone in 2015. Renal transplants were the most common transplant among all solid organ transplants. Infections are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in renal transplant and second leading cause of death in patients with allograft function. Many opportunistic pathogens have been reported in renal transplant recipients including bacterial and fungal organisms, and viruses, among these, Cytomegalovirus (CMV), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and BK virus are prominent. CMV infection is the most common opportunistic infection occurs in 8% of renal transplant recipients. Individual’s exposure to the virus amount and the virus’s replication dynamics, presence of other viral or bacterial infections are the factors contributes to the development of CMV infection. On the other hand, cytokines play an important role in the reactivation and pathogenesis of CMV infection and CMV disease. Polymorphisms of cytokine gene were found to be associated with the individual susceptibility and outcome of CMV infection. The major goal of preventing CMV infection is to reduce the incidence of CMV disease and the indirect effects associated with viral replication. Exploration of the role of cytokine gene polymorphisms is paramount for researchers and healthcare providers to improve health outcomes in patients especially with renal transplants and in patients with other disease conditions.

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