Differential effects of donor and recipient IL28B and DDX58 SNPs on severity of HCV after liver transplantation.
It is not known how the immune system targets hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected HLA-mismatched hepatocytes under immune-suppressed conditions after orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT). In addition, the relationship between the HCV-specific immune response and IL28B variants as predictors of HCV clearance has not been well-characterized. We determined the IL28B polymorphisms for 57 post-OLT HCV carriers, and we assessed the HCV-specific immune responses by measuring the peripheral blood mononuclear cell-derived HCV-specific interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) response using an enzyme-linked immunospot assay. At 1-3 years after OLT, patients with no active hepatitis showed higher total spots on the immunospot assay. At＞3 years after OLT, patients with resolved HCV showed higher levels of core, NS3, NS5A, and total spots compared to the chronic hepatitis patients. The IL28B major genotype in the donors correlated with higher spot counts for NS5A and NS5B proteins at 1-3 years after OLT. In the post-OLT setting, the HCV-specific immune response could be strongly induced in patients with no active hepatitis with an IL28B major donor or sustained virological response. Strong immune responses in the patients with no active hepatitis could only be maintained for 3 years and diminished later. It may be beneficial to administer IFN treatment starting 3 years after OLT, to induce the maximum immunological effect.