Sequence heterogeneity of NS5A and core proteins of hepatitis C virus and virological responses to pegylated-interferon/ribavirin combination therapy.Microbiol Immunol. 2011 Jun; 55(6):418-26.MI
Both host and viral factors have been implicated in influencing the response to pegylated-interferon/ribavirin (PEG-IFN/RBV) therapy for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Among the viral factors, sequence heterogeneity within NS5A and core regions has been proposed. This study aimed to clarify the relationship between virological responses to PEG-IFN/RBV therapy and sequence heterogeneity within NS5A, including the IFN/RBV resistance-determining region (IRRDR), the interferon sensitivity-determining region (ISDR) and the core region. Pretreatment sequences of NS5A and the core regions were analyzed in 57 HCV-1b-infected patients who were to be treated with PEG-IFN/RBV. Of 40 patients infected with HCV having an IRRDR with four or more mutations (IRRDR ≥ 4), 28 (70%) patients achieved a sustained virological response (SVR). On the other hand, only 4 (24%) of 17 patients infected with HCV having an IRRDR with three or fewer mutations (IRRDR ≤ 3) achieved a SVR (P = 0.001). Similarly, 22 (71%) of 31 patients infected with HCV and having an ISDR with one or more mutations (ISDR ≥ 1) achieved a SVR while 10 (38%) of 26 patients infected with HCV and having an ISDR without any mutations (ISDR = 0) achieved a SVR (P = 0.014). As for the core region, there was significant correlation between a single mutation at position 70 (Gln(70)) and non-SVR (P = 0.02). Notably, Gln(70) was more prominently associated with the null response (P = 0.0007). In conclusion, sequence heterogeneity within the IRRDR and ISDR, and a single point mutation at position 70 of the core region of HCV-1b are likely to be correlated with virological responses to PEG-IFN/RBV therapy.