Wiley Logo A probable means to predict the treatment outcome for liver transplantation recently came into the limelight. According to a recent study, the IL28B gene is significantly linked with interferon-based antiviral treatment outcome, and to graft inflammation caused by hepatitis C virus (HCV). The study findings may aid in determining that the presence of G-allele serves as a marker for severe HCV-induced graft inflammation and predictor for unsuccessful treatment.

The IL28B gene encodes interferons (IFNs) are proteins presumably made by lymphocytes to promote the immune system in the presence of pathogens. IFN-α proteins may be produced by leukocytes that are prevalent in the presence of a viral infection including HCV. During the study, experts evaluated the prevalence of IL28B genotypes (GG, GT, TT) in 183 liver transplant patients. A total of 605 protocol liver biopsies performed six months to ten or more years after transplantation were thoroughly scrutinized.

“Successful liver transplantation creates a unique population of quasi-normal individuals relying on a harmonic interaction of two different genetic backgrounds,” elucidated Dennis Eurich, MD, from the Department of General, Visceral and Transplant Surgery at Charité, Campus Virchow in Berlin and lead investigator. “IL28B polymorphisms may help to identify patients at risk for developing more severe graft hepatitis. These genetic variants might help to individually predict potential response to antiviral therapy, enabling medical professionals to appropriately adapt treatment.”

The presence of G-allele allegedly serves as a marker for more severe graft inflammation. It was seemingly found to be linked with antiviral treatment failure in 103 of 159 patients. T-allele appeared more often in patients with lower inflammation grades. It was also observed that IL28B genotypes probably fail to affect median fibrosis. Scientists conclude that the IL28B gene can be extremely beneficial in anticipating treatment outcome among liver transplant patients.

The study is published in the March issue of Liver Transplantation, a journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.