The rs738409 polymorphism of the PNPLA3 gene is associated with hepatic steatosis and fibrosis in Brazilian patients with chronic hepatitis C.BMC Infect Dis. 2017 12 19; 17(1):780.BI
Prospective studies have shown that 80% of acute hepatitis C virus (HCV) cases progress to chronic infection; approximately 10-20% of patients with these conditions will develop liver cirrhosis within 2 to 3 decades, and 1-5% will develop liver cancer. Some studies have indicated that the rs738409 polymorphism of the PNPLA3 gene is associated with steatosis and the progression of advanced fibrosis. This study assessed the contribution of the PNPLA3 rs738409 polymorphism with regard to the steatosis and degree of liver fibrosis in Brazilian patients diagnosed with chronic hepatitis C.
A total of 290 patients were evaluated at the Clinics Hospital of the School of Medicine, University of São Paulo, between 2010 and 2015. The inclusion criteria were age ≥ 18 years and positive anti-HCV antibody and HCV RNA tests. The participants were evaluated based on medical consultation, blood tests, and liver biopsies conducted before specific antiviral therapies were applied. The associations between the rs738409 PNPLA3 gene polymorphism and steatosis and advanced fibrosis were tested under a recessive inheritance model using logistic regression analysis, including age, gender, BMI, ethnicity/color, HOMA-IR, alcohol intake, HCV genotype 3, and the rs58542926 TM6SF2 gene polymorphism as covariates.
The mean age of the patients was 54.9 years old (range, 28 to 82 years), and 124 (42.8%) patients were male; 226 (77.9%) were white, 43 (14.8%) were pardo, and 21 (7.2%) were black Brazilians. Of the patients included in this study, 133 (45.9%) presented with the CC genotype, 63 (21.7%) with the CG genotype, and 94 (32.4%) with the GG genotype of the PNPLA3 gene I148M variant. We observed that the associations between PNPLA3 rs738409 GG genotype and steatosis was significant (OR: 2.16; 95% CI 1.26-3.72). The same genotype was associated to advanced fibrosis too (OR:2.64; 95% CI 1.26-5.53).
Associations between the rs738409 polymorphism of the PNPLA3 gene genotype GG and hepatic steatosis and advanced fibrosis were observed. Studies are still needed to clarify the influence of these polymorphisms on hepatic steatosis and degree of fibrosis among individuals diagnosed with chronic hepatitis C.