Background & Aims
Both polymorphisms in the IL28B gene locus and ISG expression levels are associated with the outcome of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. The two are also interrelated, although the mechanism is unknown. Favourable CC genotype at rs12979860 expresses lower baseline ISG levels and responds better to treatment than unfavourable CT and TT genotypes. Little is known about this relationship in normal, uninfected liver. This study sought to explore this relationship.
Normal human liver specimens (64) and HCV positive human liver specimens (95) were genotyped for IL28B rs12979860 C > T. mRNA levels of ISGs and other relevant genes were studied by qPCR.
Most studied ISGs had significantly different expression by IL28B genotype in normal liver. CC genotype expressed the highest levels, CT intermediate and TT the lowest. This is opposite to the pattern seen in HCV patients. Principal component analysis of IL28B genotype and ISG expression further revealed a distinct set of genes correlated with the C allele (ISG15, HTATIP2, LGALS3BP, IRF2 and BCL2) and T allele (IFNα, β, γ, λ3 and CD80).
A subset of ISGs was found to be differentially expressed in normal liver by IL28B genotype. This suggests a relationship between IL28B genotype and gene expression before HCV infection.