Human Leukocyte Antigen System Likely Plays a Role in Course of HBV Infections

human leukocyte antigen
human leukocyte antigen
Researchers demonstrated for the first time that the rs3077-T allele is associated with spontaneous hepatitis B virus seroclearance in a Caucasian population, a finding that has previously only been made in Asian populations.

The human leukocyte antigen (HLA) system likely plays a role in the course of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections, as the rs3077-T allele has been found to be associated with persistent HBV infection in Caucasians, according to the results of a retrospective case-control study published in Liver International.1

In patients with HBV, the occurrence of long-term complications becomes more frequent over time, especially in patients in the hepatitis phase compared with patients in the HBe antigen (Ag)-negative chronic infection phase and lowest in patients achieving seroclearance of HBsAg with or without the development of anti-HBs antibodies.2,3 HLA single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were found to be associated with spontaneous HBsAg loss in Asian populations.4-14 

A few studies with ambiguous findings have assessed the influence of HLA-DP polymorphisms on the course of HBV infection in Caucasians.15-18 Therefore, researchers investigated the impact of the rs3077, rs9277535, and rs9277534 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) on the clinical outcome of HBV infection in 1111 Caucasians, including 618 with chronic HBV infection, 239 with spontaneous HBsAg seroclearance, and 254 healthy controls.1

The researchers found that there was a significant difference in the allele distributions for rs3077 SNP between healthy controls and patients with chronic HBV infection, as well as between patients with seroclearance and patients with chronic HBV infection.  While the rs3077-C allele was associated with a lower probability for spontaneous HBsAg seroclearance compared with the rs3077-T allele (P =.033), no association of the 3 SNPs with the stages of chronic HBV infection was found.

“In conclusion, our results demonstrate for the first time the association of rs3077 with persistent HBV infection in a Caucasian population” stated the investigators.1 They added that, “Further studies are needed to elucidate the role of HLA-DP variants in disease pathogenesis and their potential role for individualized disease management.”

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Disclosure: This study was partially supported by a research grant from Gilead Sciences, Inc.


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