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Dig Dis Sci. 2010 Apr;55(4):1113-9. doi: 10.1007/s10620-009-0819-z. Epub 2009 May 23.

Association of interleukin-18 gene polymorphisms with hepatitis B virus clearance.

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Department of Gastroenterology, Genomic Research Center for Gastroenterology, Ajou University School of Medicine, San-5 Wonchon-Dong, Youngtong-ku, Suwon, 442-721, South Korea.


The outcome of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection can be affected by host immune factors. Interleukin-18 (IL-18) was originally discovered as an interferon-gamma-inducing factor and plays a critical role in immune response. We assessed the association between the clearance of HBV infection and single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the IL-18 gene. Between March 2002 and December 2004, a total of 1,050 Korean subjects were enrolled in the study and divided into two groups: (1) the HBV spontaneous recovery group (n = 320) and (2) the chronic HBV carrier group (n = 730). We analyzed SNPs at four polymorphic sites in the IL-18 gene at positions -667G>T, -148G>C, +8925C>G, and +13925A>C. We observed that the subjects bearing the IL-18 -148C allele [odds ratio (OR), 0.25; confidence interval (CI), 0.09-0.68; P = 0.01], the +8925G allele (OR, 0.36; CI, 0.15-0.88; P = 0.02), and the +13925C allele (OR, 0.25; CI, 0.13-0.82; P = 0.01) were significantly associated with HBV clearance in a recessive model. This study indicates that the -148C, +8925G, and +13925C alleles of the IL-18 gene are likely associated with HBV clearance in a Korean population.

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