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Distinct MHC class I and II alleles are associated with hepatitis C viral clearance, originating from a single source.

Author(s): McKiernan SM, Hagan R, Curry M, McDonald GS, Kelly A, Nolan N, Walsh A, Hegarty J, Lawlor E, Kelleher D

Affiliation(s): Hepatology Center, St. James's Hospital and Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. smckiernan@stjames.ie

Publication date & source: 2004-07, Hepatology., 40(1):108-14.

The role of cytotoxic T lymphocyte responses, restricted by human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I alleles, is recognized as highly significant in the successful clearance of hepatitis C virus (HCV). The frequency of class I alleles in females inoculated with HCV genotype 1b from a single source was examined for an association with outcome. Class I typing was performed using polymerase chain reaction sequence-specific primers in 227 female subjects: 141 had chronic infection and 86 had viral clearance. Statistical analysis included chi(2) testing and multiple logistic regression analysis. A*03, B*27, and Cw*01 occurred more frequently in those with viral clearance (39.5%, 14%, and 9.3%, respectively) compared with those with chronic infection (19.1%, 2.1%, and 1.4%, respectively; P < or = .005). B*08 occurred more often in those with chronic infection compared with viral clearance (39.7% vs. 19.8%; P =.002). In combination with previously reported class II allele associations, over 75% that successfully eliminate HCV carry either A*03, DRB1*0101, or *0401, compared with only 37% of those with chronic infection (P <.0001). The haplotypes A*03-B*07-DRB1*15-DQB1*0602 and A*02-B*27-Cw*01-DRB1*0101-DQB1*0501 are associated with viral clearance (P =.004 and.01, respectively). By multiple logistic regression analysis, the alleles A*03, B*27, DRB1*0101, *0401, and *15 are associated with viral clearance, and B*27 has the strongest association (odds ratio [OR] 7.99). The haplotype A*01-B*08-Cw*07-DRB1*03011-DQB1*0201 is associated with chronic infection (P =.002), being independent for DQB1*0201 (OR 0.27). In conclusion, certain class I alleles are associated with outcome in this homogeneous cohort. More significantly, either HLA-A*03, -DRB1*0101, or -*0401 are carried by an overwhelming majority of those subjects who successfully clear HCV.

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