Aim: We tested associations between HFE mutations and hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. We also explored measures of total body iron status and their association with chronic HBV infection.
Methods: Serum measures of iron status and HFE mutations (C282Y, H63D, and S65C) were assessed in 344 Iranian patients with chronic HBV infection (214 asymptomatic carriers, 130 patients with chronic progressive liver disease [CPLD]) and 302 controls.
Results: Frequencies of HFE mutations did not differ between patients with chronic HBV infection and controls (C282Y: P=0.9, H63D: P= 0.8, S65C: P=0.9). By logistic regression, advanced hepatic fibrosis was associated with HFE H63D mutation (OR=13.1, P=0.006; 95% CI=2.0–84.1). Higher levels of serum ferritin and transferrin saturation were observed in patients with CPLD than in healthy controls (P=0.0001 and 0.01, respectively, adjusted for age and sex). None of the serum iron measures was related to liver fibrosis stage or necroinflammatory grade.
Conclusion: Serum iron measures are associated with chronic progressive hepatitis B. Carriage of HFE mutations is not associated with the presence of chronic HBV infection or values of serum iron measures in this population, although HFE H63D is associated with more advanced hepatic fibrosis.