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J Hepatol. 2010 Feb;52(2):153-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2009.11.001. Epub 2009 Nov 27.

Lower copy numbers of the chemokine CCL3L1 gene in patients with chronic hepatitis C.

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Department of Medicine II, Saarland University Hospital, Saarland University, Homburg, Germany.



Recently, variation of gene copy numbers was recognized as a novel type of common genetic diversity, but its impact on viral hepatitis is unknown. Here, we determine the influence of copy number variation on the susceptibility and disease severity in hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, investigating copy number variants (CNVs) of the chemokine CCL3L1 gene, which encodes a potent CCR5 ligand.


CNVs were determined in 254 patients with chronic hepatitis C, 144 HCV/HIV co-infected patients, and 210 HCV negative controls, using quality-controlled real-time fluorescent dye-labeled quantitative PCR. Liver biopsies were obtained from HCV infected patients.


Copy numbers of the CCL3L1 gene range from 0 to 12 (mean 2.7+/-1.4 copies). Patients with two or less copies are over-represented in the HCV infected cohort compared to HCV negative controls (odds ratio [OR] 1.54; p=0.02). CCL3L1 copies are shifted to lower numbers in HCV infected patients (means 2.6 vs. 2.9 in controls; p=0.011). HCV/HIV co-infected patients carry even lower CCL3L1 copy numbers compared to controls (means 2.2 vs. 2.9; p<0.001), with a higher proportion of patients possessing two or less copies (OR=3.42; p<0.001). No association was detected between CCL3L1 copy numbers and histological grades of inflammation or stages of fibrosis.


Lower CCL3L1 gene copy number compared to the population median is associated with chronic hepatitis C. Copy number variation of host genes represents a novel class of genetic diversity associated with viral hepatitis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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