Interleukin-1β is a pro-inflammatory cytokine that may influence host defence against viral infection.


To investigate the impact of interleukin-1β gene polymorphism on the response to anti-viral treatment.


Hepatitis B e antigen-positive chronic hepatitis B patients who have completed a randomized study of peginterferon alpha-2b and lamivudine combination vs. lamivudine monotherapy were included. Sustained responders were patients who had persistent hepatitis B e antigen loss and less than two occasions with hepatitis B virus DNA >100 000 copies/mL at any time up to week 76 post-treatment. Polymorphisms at interleukin-1β-511, -31 and -3954 and interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (RN) were studied.


Eighty-eight patients were studied and 18 (20%) patients developed sustained response. Near complete linkage disequilibrium was observed between interleukin-1β-511 and -31 loci. After adjustment for the potential confounding effects of treatment allocation, hepatitis B virus genotype, pre-treatment alanine aminotransferase and hepatitis B virus DNA levels, genotype C/T at interleukin-1β-511 was found to be associated with higher sustained response than genotype C/C (adjusted odds ratio 10.4, 95% CI 1.1, 96.9, P = 0.040). The proportion of sustained responders tend to be higher among patients with allele T at interleukin-1β-511 (83%) than those without (70%) (P = 0.058).


High interleukin-1β production genotype at position -511 has a favourable response to anti-viral treatments.