Polymorphisms Related to Iron Homeostasis Associate with Liver Disease in Chronic Hepatitis C

Viruses. 2023 Aug 9;15(8):1710. doi: 10.3390/v15081710.


Dysregulation of iron metabolism in chronic hepatitis C (CHC) is a significant risk factor for hepatic cirrhosis and cancer. We studied if known genetic variants related to iron homeostasis associate with liver disease progression in CHC. Retrospective analysis included 249 CHC patients qualified for antiviral therapy between 2004 and 2014. For all patients, nine SNPs within HFE, TFR2, HDAC2, HDAC3, HDAC5, TMPRSS6, and CYBRD1 genes were genotyped. Expression of selected iron-related genes, was determined with qRT-PCR in 124 liver biopsies, and mRNA expression of co-inhibitory receptors (PD-1, Tim3, CTLA4) was measured in 79 liver samples. CYBRD1 rs884409, HDAC5 rs368328, TFR2 rs7385804, and TMPRSS6 rs855791 associated with histopathological changes in liver tissue at baseline. The combination of minor allele in HDAC3 rs976552 and CYBRD1 rs884409 linked with higher prevalence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) during follow up (OR 8.1 CI 2.2-29.2; p = 0.001). Minor allele in HDAC3 rs976552 associated with lower hepatic expression of CTLA4. Tested polymorphisms related to iron homeostasis associate with histopathological changes in the liver. The presence of both HDAC3 rs976552 G and CYBRD1 rs884409 G alleles correlates with HCC occurrence, especially in the group of patients with elevated AST (>129 IU/L). rs976552 in HDAC3 could impact immunological processes associated with carcinogenesis in CHC.

Keywords: hepatitis C virus infection; hepatocellular carcinoma; iron homeostasis; single nucleotide polymorphisms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • CTLA-4 Antigen
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular* / genetics
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic* / complications
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic* / genetics
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Retrospective Studies


  • CTLA-4 Antigen

Grants and funding

This research was supported by the Polish National Science Centre (grant no. 2011/01/B/NZ6/00320) and Medical University of Gdansk (grant no. 01-30023/0005021/773/773/2023).