A genome-wide association study on low susceptibility to hepatitis C virus infection (GEHEP012 study)

Liver Int. 2019 Oct;39(10):1918-1926. doi: 10.1111/liv.14177. Epub 2019 Jul 10.

Abstract

Background: A low proportion of individuals repeatedly exposed to the hepatitis C virus (HCV) remain uninfected. This condition could have a genetic basis but it is not known whether or not it is mainly driven by a high-penetrance common allele.

Objective: To explore whether low susceptibility to HCV infection is mainly driven by a high-penetrance common allele.

Methods: In this genome-wide association study (GWAS), a total of 804 HCV-seropositive individuals and 27 high-risk HCV-seronegative (HRSN) subjects were included. Plink and Magma software were used to carry out single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)-based and gene-based association analyses respectively.

Results: No SNP nor any gene was associated with low susceptibility to HCV infection after multiple testing correction. However, SNPs previously associated with this trait and allocated within the LDLR gene, rs5925 and rs688, were also associated with this condition in our study under a dominant model (24 out of 27 [88.9%] rs5925-C carriers in the HRSN group vs 560 of 804 [69.6%] rs5925-C carriers in the HCV-seropositive group, P = 0.031, odds ratio [OR] = 3.48; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.04-11.58; and 24 out of 27 [88.9%] rs688-T carriers in the HRSN group vs 556 of 804 [69.1%] rs688-T carriers in the HCV-seropositive group, P = 0.028, OR = 3.57, 95% CI = 1.65-11.96).

Conclusions: Low susceptibility to HCV infection does not seem to be mainly driven by a high-penetrant common allele. By contrast, it seems a multifactorial trait where genes such as LDLR could be involved.

Keywords: GWAS; exposed uninfected; genetics; hepatitis C virus; high-risk HCV seronegative; resistance; susceptibility.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't