Host genetic determinants in hepatitis C virus infection

Genes Immun. 2004 Jun;5(4):237-45. doi: 10.1038/sj.gene.6364090.


In addition to viral and environmental/behavioural factors, host genetic diversity is believed to contribute to the spectrum of clinical outcomes in hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. This paper reviews the literature with respect to studies of host genetic determinants of HCV outcome and attempts to highlight trends and synthesise findings. With respect to the susceptibility to HCV infection, several studies have replicated associations of the HLA class II alleles DQB1(*)0301 and DRB1(*)11 with self-limiting infection predominantly in Caucasian populations. Meta-analyses yielded summary estimates of 3.0 (95% CI: 1.8-4.8) and 2.5 (95% CI: 1.7-3.7) for the effects of DQB1(*)0301 and DRB1(*)11 on self-limiting HCV, respectively. Studies of genetics and the response to interferon-based therapies have largely concerned single-nucleotide polymorphisms and have been inconsistent. Regarding studies of genetics and the progression of HCV-related disease, there is a trend with DRB1(*)11 alleles and less severe disease. Studies of extrahepatic manifestations of chronic HCV have shown an association between DQB1(*)11 and DR3 with the formation of cryoglobulins. Some important initial observations have been made with respect to genetic determinants of HCV outcome. Replication studies are needed for many of these associations, as well as biological data on the function of many of these polymorphisms.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antiviral Agents / pharmacology
  • Disease Progression
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • HLA-DQ Antigens / genetics
  • HLA-DQ beta-Chains
  • HLA-DR Antigens / genetics
  • HLA-DRB1 Chains
  • Hepatitis C / drug therapy
  • Hepatitis C / genetics*
  • Hepatitis C / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Interferons / pharmacology


  • Antiviral Agents
  • HLA-DQ Antigens
  • HLA-DQ beta-Chains
  • HLA-DQB1 antigen
  • HLA-DR Antigens
  • HLA-DRB1 Chains
  • Interferons