Hepatitis C virus infection alters lipid metabolism depending on IL28B polymorphism and viral genotype and modulates gene expression in vivo and in vitro



Hepatitis C virus (HCV) interacts with lipid receptors to enter the cell, circulates as lipoviroparticle and is secreted as VLDL. We aimed to investigate the role of the rs12979860 polymorphism in the IL28B gene in 143 with chronic hepatitis C genotype 1, 144 infected with genotype 3, 90 genotype 4 and 413 noninfected individuals on lipid profile and to test the impact of HCV infection in an in vitro model on VLDL biosynthesis-related gene expression rs12979860 polymorphism was analysed using real-time PCR coupled to Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET). Huh7.5 (rs12979860 CT) and Huh7 (genotype CC) cells were infected with JFH-1 particles and serum from patients infected with genotypes 1 and 3. Gene expression of apolipoprotein B (apoB), microsomal triglyceride transfer protein (MTP), acetyl CoA carboxylase (ACC), diacylglycerol acyltransferase 2 (DGAT2), diacylglycerol acyltransferase 1 (DGAT1) and low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLr) genes were determined by semiquantitative RT-PCR in vivo and in vitro. Genotype CC rs12979860 polymorphism was associated with significantly higher serum LDL and total cholesterol levels in patients with hepatitis C genotype 1 but not in patients with hepatitis C genotype 3, genotype 4 and control (noninfected) population. Genotype CC was more often seen in genotype 3 and healthy people in comparison with genotype 1; P = 0.001. In vitro results showed that HCV infection promotes lipid metabolism gene expression induction depending on viral genotype, but to a lesser extent in cells with CT genotype. These results demonstrate that IL28B genotype influences lipid metabolism in patients with hepatitis C but not in noninfected and it seems to be viral genotype-mediated. HCV infection modifies lipid-related genes expression (DGAT1 and DGAT2) in cultured cells based on viral genotype and IL28 polymorphism.