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Reuters Health Information (2004-02-20): TNF polymorphisms tied to hepatitis C severity


TNF polymorphisms tied to hepatitis C severity

Last Updated: 2004-02-20 12:46:51 -0400 (Reuters Health)

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-beta polymorphisms appear to be associated with greater disease severity in patients infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV), according to Indian researchers.

In the January issue of the Journal of Medical Virology, Dr. Shiv K. Sarin of G. B. Pant Hospital, New Delhi, and colleagues note that although the pathogenesis of HCV infection is unclear, polymorphism in the TNF-alpha and -beta genes could influence outcome.

To investigate, the researchers studied 52 patients with chronic HCV and healthy controls.

The TNF-beta A/A allele was significantly more common in patients (28.8%) than in controls (12.8%).

Moreover, patients with severe hepatic fibrosis were more frequently carriers of the TNF-beta A/A allele than were patients with milder disease. In fact, 14 of the 15 patients with the allele had severe liver disease and significant hepatic fibrosis.

While TNF-alpha polymorphisms did not differ between case and controls, the TNF-alpha G/G allele was strongly associated with the TNF-beta A/A allele and with disease persistence, indicating, say the investigators, possible linkage.

Overall, the researchers conclude that their findings are consistent with a role for the cytokines in HCV, and they call for larger studies to increase understanding of the mechanisms possibly involved.

J Med Virol 2004;72:60-65.

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