Background: Pegylated interferon (PegIFN) is used in the treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) patients especially in resource limited countries. Treatment with PegIFN stimulates the expression of a number of host genes encoding enzymes with antiviral activities, including myxovirus resistance gene-A (MxA gene). MxA gene was found to have a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) at position -88 in the promoter region that affects the expression of MxA gene protein and was suggested to affect the treatment outcome. The aim of the work was to assess the relation between the SNP in the MxA gene and its impact on treatment of chronic HCV patients with PegIFN and ribavirin.
Methods: We therefore genotyped the biallelic G/T SNP in the promoter region of MxA gene at position -88 from the transcription start site by restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) in 70 chronic HCV genotype 4 interferon naive Egyptians and 40 healthy controls.
Results: G allele was the prevalent one in both HCV patients group (105, 74.5%) and control group (66, 82.5%), while T allele was less expressed in patients group (36, 25.5%) and control group (14, 17.5%). There is no correlation between genotypes and response to IFN-alpha therapy: GG (OR: 0.958, 95% CI: 0.541 - 1.698, P = 0.884), GT (OR: 0.667, 95% CI: 0.188 - 2.362, P = 0.530), and TT (OR: 0.300, 95% CI: 0.083 - 1.090, P = 0.067).
Conclusion: MxA nt-88 SNP did not affect the sustained virological response (SVR) rates after PegIFN and ribavirin combined treatment and did not act as a biological marker to potentially identify responders and non-responders to treatment. Our results call for additional large studies and/or meta-analysis of all currently available data to examine the role of MxA nt-88 SNP in predicting response to PegIFN and ribavirin in patients with IFN-alpha naive HCV genotype 4.
Keywords: HCV; MxA gene; Pegylated interferon.