Subjects infected with the hepatitis C virus may have dramatically different clinical courses. In the some cases, the disease progresses to fibrosis (scarring), cirrhosis and even liver cancer. In other cases, the infected individuals have minimal liver damage. Presumably, host genetic factors play a major role in determining how people respond to infection with the hepatitis C virus.
For the most part, these host genetic factors are unknown. In this study, Powell et al. studied candidate genes that may be involved in fibrosis in 128 subjects with chronic hepatitis C. They detected a statistically significant relationship between the inheritance of high transforming growth factor beta 1 and angiotensinogen producing genotypes and the development of liver fibrosis.
This is one of the first of what are likely to be many subsequent studies on the role of host genetic factors in the progression of hepatitis C. As the entire human genome is almost sequenced, large scale and rapid scanning of all human genes will someday be possible.
By Howard J. Worman, M. D.
Powell, E. E., Edwards-Smith, C. J., Hay, J. L., Clouston, A. D., Crawford, D. H., Shorthouse, C., Purdie, D. M., and Jonsson, J. R. 2000.
Copyright, 2000, Columbia University Division of GastroenterologyHepatitis D/Howard J. Worman, M. D.
Copyright, 2000, Columbia University Division of GastroenterologyCurrent Papers in Liver Disease/Howard J. Worman, M. D.