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Keywords:

  • chronic hepatitis B;
  • IFNAR2;
  • IL10RB;
  • interferon response;
  • single-nucleotide polymorphisms

Summary.  A recent genome-wide association study discovered that two polymorphisms, interferon (IFN) alpha receptor 2 (IFNAR-2) F8S and interleukin 10 receptor (IL10RB) K47E, were associated with susceptibility to hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in Africa. Here, we reevaluate the effects of the two polymorphisms on HBV susceptibility in the Chinese Han population, and extended the study to look at their association with IFN response in chronic hepatitis B (CHB). We included 341 patients with CHB and 341 unrelated controls presenting with asymptotic HBV self-limited infection, who were well matched in age and sex. In the CHB group, 101 patients had been treated with peg-IFN-alpha-2a for 48 weeks and followed up for 24 weeks to determine the clinical response, resulting 34 individuals with sustained virological response (SVR) and 67 individuals with nonsustained response (NR). Subgroups in the CHB group were divided according to the viral loads, HBeAg and maternal HBsAg status. The association with the susceptibility to HBV infection was only observed for IL10RB K47E when we compared the individuals with persistent HBV infection through nonmaternal transmission to the controls with asymptomatic self-limited HBV infection. Further, we found that the IFNAR2-8SS genotype was associated with HBeAg negative patients (OR = 0.316, 95% CI: 0.121–0.825, P = 0.019) and that the IFNAR2-8F allele was associated with the risk to high viral loads (OR = 1.667, 95% CI: 1.148–2.420, P = 0.007). In addition, the IFNAR2-8FF genotype predisposed to higher MxA gene induction and correlated with sustained IFN response (OR = 0.348, 95% CI: 0.129–0.935, P = 0.036). Haplotype analysis based on polymorphisms of three single-nucleotide polymorphisms, MxA −88 G/T, IFNAR-2 F8S and IL10RB K47E showed that the haplotype distribution was significantly different between the SVR and NR groups (P = 0.040). This study suggests that IFNAR2 may play an important role in determining IFN response and clinical phenotypes of HBV infection in the Chinese Han population.