No influence of antiretroviral therapy on the mutation rate of the HCV NS5B polymerase in HIV/HCV-coinfected patients.
ABSTRACT To assess the impact of antiretroviral treatment (ART), including nucleoside analogues retrotranscriptase inhibitors (NRTIs), on the mutation rate of hepatitis C virus (HCV) NS5B polymerase and on the ratio of substitution at synonymous and nonsynonymous sites (dN/dS) this polymerase in HIV/HCV-coinfected patients.
Sixty-one patients on defined ART were included in this study. The NS5B polymerase of HCV was sequenced at baseline and after at least two years of ART. The mutation rate and the dN/dS were calculated at both times.
The NS5B gene from forty-nine (80.3%) patients including; 19 HCV-1a (38.8%), 13 HCV-1b (26.5%), 8 HCV-3a (16.3%) and 9 HCV-4d (18.4%), could be sequenced. Thirty-two (65.3%) patients received non-nucleoside analogues and 41 (83.7%) received protease inhibitor. The mean estimated substitution rates at baseline and at the end of follow-up were from 1.38 to 3.5×10(-3)substitution/site/year (s/s/y) and from 1.39 to 3.18×10(-3)s/s/y, respectively, varying according to HCV genotype. All HCV genotypes at baseline and the end time point had values of dN/dS <1. At the end of follow-up, most of sites experienced negative selection and positive selection occurred only in a few sites.
The mutation rate of NS5B in HIV/HCV-coinfected patients is within the range previously reported in studies in HCV-monoinfected patients. Additionally, the use of ART, including NRTIs, in these patients does not affect neither mutation rate nor the dN/dS of the HCV NS5B protein, suggesting that its use would not generate new resistance mutants to the polymerase inhibitors of HCV.