The presence of occult hepatitis C virus infection is determined by finding HCV RNA in the liver and peripheral blood mononuclear cells, with no HCV RNA in the serum. Researchers have shown that the presence of occult HCV infection (OCI) was correlated with unfavorable polymorphisms near interferon lambda-3/4 (IFNL3/4), which has been associated with spontaneous HCV clearance.
This study was conducted to assess the frequency of OCI in 450 hemophilia patients in Iran with negative HCV markers, and to evaluate the association of three IFNL3 single nucleotide polymorphisms (rs8099917, rs12979860, and rs12980275) and the IFNL4 ss469415590 SNP with OCI positivity.
The estimated OCI rate was 10.2%. Among the 46 OCI patients, 56.5%, 23.9%, and 19.6% were infected with HCV-1b, HCV-1a, and HCV-3a, respectively. The researchers found that, compared with patients without OCI, unfavorable IFNL3 rs12979860, IFNL3 rs8099917, IFNL3 rs12980275, and IFNL4 ss469415590 genotypes were more frequently found in OCI patients. Multivariate analysis showed that ALT, cholesterol, triglyceride, as well as the aforementioned unfavorable interferon SNP geneotypes were associated with OCI positivity.
“10.2% of anti-HCV seronegative Iranian patients with hemophilia had OCI in our study; therefore, risk of this infection should be taken into consideration. We also showed that patients with unfavorable IFNL3 SNPs and IFNL4 ss469415590 genotypes were exposed to a higher risk of OCI, compared to hemophilia patients with other genotypes,” the researchers concluded.
The authors reported that they had no disclosures.
SOURCE: Nafari AH et al. Infect Genet Evol. 2019 Dec 13. .