An elevated frequency of the CCR5-Δ32 mutation in German patients with hepatitis C with viremia has been reported. The aim of the present study was to verify whether this mutation occurs in an Italian population with hepatitis C and whether it is an adverse host factor indicative of severity of liver disease and response to antiviral therapy.Study
The authors amplified 189-bp (wild-type) and 157-bp (Δ32 deletion) fragments of the CCR5 gene by polymerase chain reaction in 130 patients with chronic hepatitis C. Comparisons were drawn with 110 blood donors and 135 patients with primary biliary cirrhosis.Results
Four (3.1%) patients with chronic hepatitis C and 1 blood donor (0.9%) were CCR5-Δ32 homozygous, whereas there was no CCR5-Δ32 homozygosity among primary biliary cirrhosis patients; the wild-type gene was present in a similar percentage in the 3 groups of patients without any significant difference (83.1% vs 90.4% vs 83.6%, respectively). Among the patients with chronic hepatitis C, no significant correlation was found between CCR5-Δ32 homozygosity and the following parameters: histologic grade/stage, hepatitis C virus genotype, viral load, serum aspartate aminotransferase, serum alanine aminotransferase, and serum gamma-glutamyltransferase. Ninety-five patients received a standard antiviral protocol with pegylated interferon (PEG Intron)+ribavirin; a sustained response was achieved in 59 patients (62.1%), and the remainder did not respond or experienced a relapse. Response to treatment was not influenced by CCR5-Δ32 deletion.Conclusion
No greater frequency of CCR5-Δ32 homozygosity was seen in an Italian population of patients with chronic hepatitis C. This mutation does not seem to influence either the overall severity of liver disease or the response to viral therapy.