Original Article

Hepatology International

, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 598-605

First online:

Host genetic variants and hepatitis B virologic features in HBeAg-negative hepatitis B carriers with long-term biochemical remission

  • Chih-Lin LinAffiliated withDepartment of Gastroenterology, Taipei City Hospital, Ren-Ai branchDepartment of Psychology, National Chengchi University
  • , Tai-Chung TsengAffiliated withDivision of Hepatogastroenterology, Department of Internal Medicine, Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital, Taipei Branch
  • , Tung-Hung SuAffiliated withDepartment of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital
  • , Chun-Jen LiuAffiliated withDepartment of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University HospitalGraduate Institute of Clinical Medicine, National Taiwan University College of MedicineHepatitis Research Center, National Taiwan University College of Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital
  • , Pei-Jer ChenAffiliated withDepartment of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University HospitalGraduate Institute of Clinical Medicine, National Taiwan University College of Medicine
  • , Ming-Yang LaiAffiliated withDepartment of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University HospitalGraduate Institute of Clinical Medicine, National Taiwan University College of Medicine
  • , Ding-Shinn ChenAffiliated withDepartment of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital
  • , Jia-Horng KaoAffiliated withDepartment of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University HospitalGraduate Institute of Clinical Medicine, National Taiwan University College of MedicineHepatitis Research Center, National Taiwan University College of Medicine, National Taiwan University HospitalDepartment of Medical Research, National Taiwan University College of Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital Email author 

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Abstract

Purpose

A significant portion of HBeAg-negative chronic hepatitis B patients have persistently normal serum alanine aminotransferase levels (PNALT). We thus investigated host genetic variants and virological features in HBeAg-negative hepatitis B carriers.

Methods

Baseline clinical and virological features of 133 HBeAg-negative hepatitis B carriers (77 with PNALT and 56 with chronic hepatitis activity) with follow-up for more than 5 years were investigated. Three single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) located within or around human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DPA1, HLA-DPB1, and interleukin (IL) 28B loci were genotyped.

Results

The genotype frequencies of these SNPs were comparable between hepatitis B carriers with PNALT and those with chronic hepatitis. Compared with hepatitis B carriers with PNALT, those with chronic hepatitis had significantly higher baseline serum HBV-DNA levels (4.96 vs. 4.04 log10 IU/ml, P = 0.001). Baseline serum HBV-DNA level > 2000 IU/ml (OR, 8.42; 95% CI, 2.74–25.90, P < 0.001) were the only independent factor associated with chronic hepatitis activity. Changes of serum HBV-DNA in 30 hepatitis B carriers with PNALT had showed a significant reduction of viral load from baseline to last visit (mean difference of paired HBV-DNA levels: −0.78 log10 IU/ml, 95% CI: −1.57 to −0.013, P = 0.047). In contrast, no significant reduction of viral load was found in 28 patients with chronic hepatitis.

Conclusions

The results indicate that lower baseline serum HBV-DNA level and viral load reduction over time are associated with long-term biochemical remission in HBeAg-negative hepatitis B carriers.

Keywords

HBeAg-negative carrier Hepatitis B virus HBV-DNA Alanine aminotransferase Host genetic variants