Prevalence of IL-28B and ITPA genotypes in Chinese Han population infected persistently with hepatitis C virus genotype 6 or HCV-1

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The geographic distribution, demographics, epidemiology, host factors, and clinical characteristics of persistent HCV-6 infection in China need further characterization. This multicenter study enrolled 63 patients with persistent HCV-6 infection and 63 patients with persistent HCV-1 infection as controls. Blood biochemistry, quantitation of HCV RNA levels, and identification of host IL-28B genotypes (rs12979860, rs8099917, and rs12980275) and ITPA genotype (rs1127354) were performed to estimate potential variability in host factors that may affect response to treatment. The mean HCV-6 RNA level (3.8E6 IU/ml) was significantly higher than that in patients infected with HCV-1 (1.7E6 IU/ml; P < 0.001). Patients persistently infected with HCV-6 had a high prevalence of IL-28B rs12979860 CC genotype (92.1%), rs8099917 TT genotype (93.7%), and rs12980275 AA genotype (90.5%). Their prevalence in patients infected with HCV-1 was only modestly lower (82.5%, 84.1%, and 82.5%, respectively; P > 0.05). The inosine triphosphate pyrophosphatase (ITPA) SNP rs1127354 CC genotype was present in 66.7% of patients infected with HCV-6, comparable to that of patients infected with HCV-1 (65.1%; P > 0.05). There were no differences in the liver function, proportion of hepatic cirrhosis patients or patients with increased serum glucose between these two groups. Persistent HCV-6 infection in Chinese Han is found mainly in the southern China. Chinese Han with chronic HCV-1 or HCV-6 infection have IL-28B genotypes, suggesting responsiveness to interferon-based pharmacotherapy. Most patients (67%) possess the ITPA genotype associated with susceptibility to ribavirin-induced hemolysis. The routes of transmission for HCV-6 genotype were more diversified than HCV-1 genotype. The outbreak of HCV-6 infection through blood transfusion progressed faster than HCV-1.

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