Single-nucleotide polymorphisms in ABC drug transporters alter expression and circulating tenofovir in healthy South African women exposed to pre-exposure prophylaxis


This research paper investigates how genetic differences in certain drug transporters can impact the levels of a drug called tenofovir in the bodies of South African women who are taking pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). PrEP is a preventive approach where medications are used to reduce the risk of contracting HIV. The study focuses on understanding how specific genetic variations might influence the effectiveness of this HIV prevention method.

Tenofovir is a crucial component of PrEP, as it helps prevent the virus from establishing an infection. However, people’s bodies can handle drugs differently due to genetic factors, and this study looks at genetic variations that could play a role in how tenofovir is transported and processed in the body.

The researchers examined a specific type of genetic variation known as single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in ABC drug transporters. These transporters are responsible for moving drugs, including tenofovir, across cell membranes. The study aimed to determine whether certain genetic variants in these transporters are linked to changes in tenofovir levels in the blood.

By studying healthy South African women who were taking PrEP, the researchers found that certain genetic variations in ABC drug transporters were associated with altered expression of these transporters and, consequently, with changes in circulating tenofovir levels. This suggests that these genetic differences might influence how effectively tenofovir is absorbed and distributed in the body.

These findings highlight the importance of considering an individual’s genetic makeup when prescribing and using medications like PrEP. Tailoring treatment based on genetic factors could potentially enhance the effectiveness of the drug and improve outcomes for those using it.

It’s important to note that this study provides valuable insights into the potential impact of genetic variations on PrEP, but more research is needed to fully understand the extent of these effects and their implications for real-world HIV prevention strategies.

In summary, this research contributes to our understanding of how genetic differences can influence the response to drugs like tenofovir used in HIV prevention. By recognizing the role of genetic variations in drug transporters, scientists and healthcare providers can work towards optimizing PrEP regimens for better outcomes in individuals at risk of HIV.

Disclaimer: This lay summary was generated by AI and has not been approved by any of the authors yet.

SANTHE is an Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI) flagship programme funded by the Science for Africa Foundation through the DELTAS Africa programme; the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Gilead Sciences Inc.; and the Ragon Institute of Mass General, MIT, and Harvard.