Gene-Networks of HIV-Related Fatigue in CD14 Cells

Purpose: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–related fatigue (HRF) is multicausal and potentially related to mitochondrial dysfunction caused by antiretroviral therapy with nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs).

Methodology: The authors compared gene expression profiles of CD14+ cells of low versus high fatigued, NRTI-treated HIV patients to healthy controls (n = 5/group). The authors identified 32 genes predictive of low versus high fatigue and 33 genes predictive of healthy versus HIV infection. The authors constructed genetic networks to further elucidate the possible biological pathways in which these genes are involved.

Relevance for nursing practice: Genes including the actin cytoskeletal regulatory proteins Prokineticin 2 and Cofilin 2 along with mitochondrial inner membrane proteins are involved in multiple pathways and were predictors of fatigue status. Previously identified inflammatory and signaling genes were predictive of HIV status, clearly confirming our results and suggesting a possible further connection between mitochondrial function and HIV. Isolated CD14+ cells are easily accessible cells that could be used for further study of the connection between fatigue and mitochondrial function of HIV patients.

Implication for Practice: The findings from this pilot study take us one step closer to identifying biomarker targets for fatigue status and mitochondrial dysfunction. Specific biomarkers will be pertinent to the development of methodologies to diagnosis, monitor, and treat fatigue and mitochondrial dysfunction.