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Hum Mol Genet. 2011 Oct 1;20(19):3884-92. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddr301. Epub 2011 Jul 12.

A genome-wide association study of chronic hepatitis B identified novel risk locus in a Japanese population.

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  • 1Laboratory of Molecular Medicine, Human Genome Center, Institute of Medical Science, The University of Tokyo, 4-6-1 Shirokanedai, Minato, Tokyo.


Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is a major health issue worldwide which may lead to hepatic dysfunction, liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. To identify host genetic factors that are associated with chronic hepatitis B (CHB) susceptibility, we previously conducted a two-stage genome-wide association study (GWAS) and identified the association of HLA-DP variants with CHB in Asians; however, only 179 cases and 934 controls were genotyped using genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) arrays. Here, we performed a second GWAS of 519 747 SNPs in 458 Japanese CHB cases and 2056 controls. After adjustment with the previously identified variants in the HLA-DP locus (rs9277535), we detected strong associations at 16 loci with P-value of <5 × 10(-5). We analyzed these loci in three independent Japanese cohorts (2209 CHB cases and 4440 controls) and found significant association of two SNPs (rs2856718 and rs7453920) within the HLA-DQ locus (overall P-value of 5.98 × 10(-28) and 3.99 × 10(-37)). Association of CHB with SNPs rs2856718 and rs7453920 remains significant even after stratification with rs3077 and rs9277535, indicating independent effect of HLA-DQ variants on CHB susceptibility (P-value of 1.52 × 10(-21)- 2.38 × 10(-30)). Subsequent analyses revealed DQA1*0102-DQB1*0604 and DQA1*0101-DQB1*0501 [odds ratios (OR) =0.16, and 0.39, respectively] as protective haplotypes and DQA1*0102-DQB1*0303 and DQA1*0301-DQB1*0601 (OR = 19.03 and 5.02, respectively) as risk haplotypes. These findings indicated that variants in antigen-binding regions of HLA-DP and HLA-DQ contribute to the risk of persistent HBV infection.

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