Host Genetic Determinants of Hepatitis B Virus Infection

Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is still a major health problem worldwide. Recently, a great number of genetic studies based on single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and genome-wide association studies have been performed to search for host determinants of the development of chronic HBV infection, clinical outcomes, therapeutic efficacy, and responses to hepatitis B vaccines, with a focus on human leukocyte antigens (HLA), cytokine genes, and toll-like receptors. In addition to SNPs, gene insertions/deletions and copy number variants are associated with infection. However, conflicting results have been obtained. In the present review, we summarize the current state of research on host genetic factors and chronic HBV infection, its clinical type, therapies, and hepatitis B vaccine responses and classify published results according to their reliability. The potential roles of host genetic determinants of chronic HBV infection identified in these studies and their clinical significance are discussed. In particular, HLAs were relevant for HBV infection and pathogenesis. Finally, we highlight the need for additional studies with large sample sizes, well-matched study designs, appropriate statistical methods, and validation in multiple populations to improve the treatment of HBV infection.


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