IL28B genetic variation is associated with spontaneous clearance of hepatitis C virus, treatment response, serum IL-28B levels in Chinese population

Xiaodong Shi, Yu Pan, Moli Wang, Dongsheng Wang, Wanyu Li, Tao Jiang, Peng Zhang, Xiumei Chi, Yanfang Jiang, Yanhang Gao, Jin Zhong, Bing Sun, Damo Xu, Jing Jiang, Junqi Niu
PloS One 2012, 7 (5): e37054

BACKGROUND: The interleukin-28B gene (IL28B) locus has been associated with host resistance to hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and response to PEG-IFN/RBV treatment in western populations. This study was to determine whether this gene variant is also associated with spontaneous clearance of HCV infection, treatment response and IL-28B protein production in Chinese patients.

METHODS: We genotyped IL28B genetic variations (rs12980275, rs8103142, rs8099917 and rs12979860) by pyrosequencing DNA samples from cohorts consisting of 529 subjects with persistent HCV infection, 196 subjects who cleared the infection, 171 healthy individuals and 235 chronic HCV patients underwent IFN/RBV treatment. The expression of IL-28B were measured by ELISA and RT-PCR.

RESULTS: We found that the four IL28B variants were in complete linkage disequilibrium (r2 = 0.97-0.98). The rs12979860 CC genotype was strongly associated with spontaneously HCV clearance and successful IFN/RBV treatment compared to the CT/TT. IL-28B levels in persistent HCV patients were significantly lower than subjects who spontaneously resolved HCV and healthy controls and were also associated with high levels of ALT (alanine aminotransferase) and AST (aspartate aminotransferase). IL-28B levels were also significantly lower in individuals carrying T alleles than CC homozygous.

CONCLUSIONS: Thus, the rs12979860-CC variant upstream of IL28B gene is associated with spontaneous clearance of HCV, susceptible to IFN/RBV treatment and increased IL-28B levels in this Chinese population.

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