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J Hepatol. 1997 Mar;26(3):503-7.

HLA-DRB1*1301 and *1302 protect against chronic hepatitis B.

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I. Department of Internal Medicine, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany.



The outcome of acute hepatitis B infection may be influenced by host factors like the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). We have investigated MHC class I and class II antigens in patients with chronic hepatitis B compared to a healthy control population. To confirm the findings of this first study we performed a second study in a group of subjects who had spontaneously recovered from acute hepatitis B infection.


Frequencies of MHC class I and class II antigens were analyzed in patients with chronic hepatitis B virus infection and in control subjects. MHC class I typing was done by standard microlymphocytotoxicity assays. DRB1 and DQA1 genotypes were determined by polymerase chain reaction based typing methods.


In the first study the class II allele HLA-DRB1*1301-02 was found in 4 of 70 subjects with chronic hepatitis B virus infection (5.7%) compared to 27 of 101 healthy controls (26.7%, relative risk 0.17; p=0.001; p(corr)=0.025). This protective effect of the DRB1*1301-02 allele was confirmed in the second study. Eight of 24 patients (33.3%) who cleared hepatitis B virus spontaneously were positive for DRB1*1301-02 (relative risk of developing chronic infection compared to chronic hepatitis B subjects 0.12; p=0.004). Subtyping confirmed that 1301 and 1302 were both decreased in frequency in patients with chronic hepatitis B.


The MHC class II allele DRB1* 1301-02 is associated with protection from chronic hepatitis B in Caucasian patients.

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