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Pharmacogenomics. 2009 Nov;10(11):1819-37. doi: 10.2217/pgs.09.121.

Host genetic determinants of spontaneous hepatitis C clearance.

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University Clinic of Infectious Diseases, University Hospital Bern & University of Bern, Inselspital PKT2B, 3010 Bern, Switzerland.


Acute infection with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) induces a wide range of innate and adaptive immune responses. A total of 20-50% of acutely HCV-infected individuals permanently control the virus, referred to as 'spontaneous hepatitis C clearance', while the infection progresses to chronic hepatitis C in the majority of cases. Numerous studies have examined host genetic determinants of hepatitis C infection outcome and revealed the influence of genetic polymorphisms of human leukocyte antigens, killer immunoglobulin-like receptors, chemokines, interleukins and interferon-stimulated genes on spontaneous hepatitis C clearance. However, most genetic associations were not confirmed in independent cohorts, revealed opposing results in diverse populations or were limited by varying definitions of hepatitis C outcomes or small sample size. Coordinated efforts are needed in the search for key genetic determinants of spontaneous hepatitis C clearance that include well-conducted candidate genetic and genome-wide association studies, direct sequencing and follow-up functional studies.

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