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Summary

Mannose binding lectin (MBL) is an important innate immune system pattern recognition molecule. The MBL gene polymorphisms are reported to play a crucial role in outcome of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. In this study, we ascertained the association of MBL genotypes with HBV outcome in a South Indian population. The MBL gene polymorphisms at codons 52, 54 and 57 of exon I, and promoter polymorphisms at −221 were typed by polymerase chain reaction-sequence specific primer in spontaneously recovered and in chronic HBV group. The allele frequency of codon 52 ‘C’ was significantly higher in chronic HBV group than in the recovered group (98.5% vs. 93.6%; = 0.003) and codon 52 ‘T’ was significantly higher in recovered group than in the chronic group (6.4% vs. 1.5%; = 0.003). In multivariate analysis, after adjusting for age, sex and state of origin, codon 52 ‘CC’ and ‘CT’ genotypes were significantly associated with chronicity and recovery respectively [odds ratio (OR), 0.25; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.08–0.80, = 0.02] in co-dominant analyzing models. This was re-affirmed in analysis performed exclusively on Tamil Nadu subjects (OR, 0.23; 95% CI, 0.06–0.93, = 0.039). The frequency of low/none haplotype (XY/O) was significantly higher in recovered group than in chronic group (15.6% vs 7.5%) and associated with spontaneous recovery (OR, 2.28; 95% CI, 1.04–4.99, = 0.035). Our results provide preliminary evidence that inheritance of codon 52 genotypes and XY/O haplotype associated with low MBL level substantially determine the outcome of HBV infection in a sympatrically isolated South Indian population.