|Mutations in different regions of the genome of hepatitis C virus genotype 1b and association with response to interferon therapy|
Authors: Lin Zhang, Feng Han, Dan Zhang, Xiao-Guang Dou
Affiliations: Department of Infectious Disease, Sheng Jing Hospital of China Medical University, Shenyang 110004, P.R. China
Published online on: Monday, October 15, 2012
The aim of this study was to investigate the association of mutations in the E2/NS1 [hypervariable regions 1 and 2 (HVR1 and HVR2)] and NS5A regions of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) genome and the effectiveness of interferon (IFN) therapy, and assess whether the degree of heterogeneity of HCV quasispecies predicts response to IFN treatment. Fourteen patients infected with HCV genotype 1b (HCV-1b) who were treated with pegylated IFN-α-2a and ribavirin for 24 weeks, were studied. E2/NS1 and NS5A gene segments were amplified by reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction. HCV quasispecies heterogeneity in the E2/NS1 region was determined by cloning and sequencing. Mutations in the NS5A region were detected by direct sequencing. The heterogeneity of HCV quasispecies in the HVR1 was significantly greater in the non-responder group than in the responder group, but was not significant for HVR2 or NS5A. The correlation between mutations in IFN sensitivity-determining region (ISDR, NS5A2209-2248) and IFN sensitivity could not be supported. The degree of quasispecies heterogeneity in HVR1, but not in HVR2 and NS5A, may be predictive of response to IFN therapy. An ISDR may not apply to patients infected with HCV-1b.