Association of Toll-Like Receptor 3 Single-Nucleotide Polymorphisms and Hepatitis C Virus Infection
BACKGROUND Hepatitis C virus is the major cause of chronic hepatitis worldwide which finally leads to the development of hepatocellular carcinoma. Toll like receptors (TLRs) play an important role in the course of many viral infections, but the role of TLRs in HCV pathogenesis has not been well elucidated so far. OBJECTIVE The aim of this study was to analyse the mRNA expression of TLRs 3, 7, and 8 in different stages of HCV infection including chronic, cirrhosis, interferon treated resolved, and relapsed cases. METHODOLOGY Total RNA from whole blood was extracted and mRNA expression of TLRs 3, 7, and 8 genes was analyzed by quantitative real-time RT-PCR using β-Actin gene as an internal control. RESULTS This study consisted of 100 HCV infected individuals and twenty healthy controls. TLR 3 expression was found to be significantly elevated in individuals who had spontaneously cleared the virus (p < 0.001), whereas TLR 7 was found to be 3.26 times more elevated in patients with cirrhosis of liver. In IFN induced individuals, TLR 8 expression levels were found to be 2.28-fold elevated as compared to control population. CONCLUSION TLRs 3, 7, and 8 are prime biomarker candidates for HCV infection mRNA expression analysis which might improve current therapeutic approaches.