[IL28B CC genotype: a protective factor and predictor of the response to interferon treatment in chronic hepatitis C virus infection]

Alajos Pár, Gabriella Pár, István Tornai, Ferenc Szalay, Dalma Várszegi, Edit Fráter, Mária Papp, Gabriella Lengyel, János Fehér, Márta Varga, Judit Gervain, János Schuller, Zsuzsanna Nemes, Zoltán Péterfi, Anna Tusnádi, Béla Hunyady, Attila Haragh, Zsolt Szinku, László Pálinkás, Tímea Berki, Aron Vincze, Péter Kisfali, Béla Melegh
Orvosi Hetilap 2013 August 11, 154 (32): 1261-8

INTRODUCTION: In chronic hepatitis C-virus infection the possible role of gene variants encoding cytokines has become the focus of interest.

AIM: The aim of the study was to investigate the effect of IL28B polymorphisms on the outcome of chronic hepatitis C-virus genotype 1 infection in the Hungarian population. In addition, the association between IL28B genotypes and the Th1/Th2 cytokine production of activated peripheral blood monocytes and lymphocytes was evaluated.

METHOD: Total of 748 chronic hepatitis C-virus genotype 1 positive patients (365 males and 383 females, aged between 18 and 82 years; mean age, 54±10 years) were enrolled, of which 420 patients were treated with pegylated interferon plus ribavirin for 24-72 weeks. Of the 420 patients, 195 patients (46.4%) achieved sustained virological response. The IL28B rs12979860 polymorphism was determined using Custom Taqman SNP Genotyping Assays (Applied Biosystems, Life Technologies, Foster, CA, USA). For cytokine studies, tumour necrosis factor-α, interleukin-2, interferon-γ, interleukin-2 and interleukin-4 production by LPS-stimulated monocytes and PMA-ionomycine activated lymphocytes were measured from the supernatant of the cells obtained from 40 hepatitis C-virus infected patients, using FACS-CBA Becton Dickinson test. The cytokine levels were compared in patients with different (CC, CT, TT) IL28B genotypes.

RESULTS: The IL28B rs12979860 CC genotype occurred in lower frequency in hepatitis C-virus infected patients than in healthy controls (26.1% vs 51.4%, OR 0.333, p<0.001). Patients carried the T allele with higher frequency than controls (73.9%, vs 48.6%, OR 3.003, p<0.001). Pegylated interferon plus ribavirin treated patients with the IL28B CC genotype achieved higher sustained virological response rate than those with the CT genotype (58.6% vs 40.8%, OR 2.057, p = 0.002), and those who carried the T allele (41.8%, OR1.976, p = 0.002). LPS-induced TLR-4 activation of monocytes resulted in higher tumour necrosis factor-α production in patients with the IL28B CC genotype compared to non-CC individuals (p<0.01). Similarly, increased tumour necrosis factor-α, interleukin-2 and interferon-γ production by lymphocytes was found in the IL28B CC carriers (p<0.01) CONCLUSIONS: The IL28B CC genotype exerts protective effect against chronic hepatitis C-virus infection and may be a pretreatment predictor of sustained virological response during interferon-based antiviral therapy. The IL28B CC polymorphism is associated with increased Th1 cytokine production of activated peripheral blood monocytes and lymphocytes, which may play a role in interferon-induced rapid immune control and sustained virological response of pegylated interferon plus ribavirin treated patients.

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