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Gastroenterology. 2012 May;142(5):1122-1131.e1. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2012.01.028. Epub 2012 Jan 25.

Hepatic cell-type specific gene expression better predicts HCV treatment outcome than IL28B genotype.

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  • 1University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



Cell-type specific expression patterns of hepatic interferon-stimulated genes (ISGs) and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) near the IL28B gene are associated with response to interferon-based therapy in patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. It is not known how the IL28B genotype influences the ISG expression pattern and which is a better predictor of treatment response.


Patients at the Toronto Western Hospital Liver Centre with known outcome to interferon-based treatment for HCV infection were evaluated. Analysis included hepatic gene expression profile using complementary DNA microarrays, genotype at the IL28B SNP rs12979860, and immunostaining for human myxovirus A protein 1 (MxA) in hepatocytes and macrophages.


The level of ISG immunostaining in hepatic macrophages correlated inversely with that of hepatocytes and was strongly associated with treatment outcome. Gene expression profiles and the IL28B genotype were associated with treatment response, but only absence of MxA staining in macrophages accurately predicted nonresponse to treatment. The positive predictive value (PPV) of the IL28B genotype was 94% and the negative predictive value (NPV) was 51% (n = 209). For messenger RNA expression, the PPV was 94% and the NPV was 54% (n = 65). For detection of MxA in macrophages, the PPV was 60% and the NPV was 98% (n = 110). Of 53 patients with undetectable macrophage MxA staining, only one had a sustained virologic response. IL28B genotype was strongly associated with cell-type specific staining for MxA. There was a stepwise increase in macrophage staining and decrease in hepatocyte staining from the TT (lack of response) to CC SNP (associated with response) in IL28B. By logistic regression, after controlling for the presence of macrophage MxA staining, the IL28B genotype was no longer associated with treatment response.


The cell-type-specific expression pattern of ISGs varies among patients with different IL28B genotypes and is a strong predictor of response to interferon-based treatment.

Copyright © 2012 AGA Institute. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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