Favourable IFNL3 Genotypes Are Associated with Spontaneous Clearance and Are Differentially Distributed in Aboriginals in Canadian HIV-Hepatitis C Co-Infected Individuals
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Canadian Aboriginals are reported to clear Hepatitis C (HCV) more frequently. We tested the association of spontaneous clearance and three single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) near the Interferon-lambda 3 (IFNL3) gene (rs12979860, rs8099917, functional variant rs8103142) and compared the SNP frequencies between HIV-HCV co-infected whites and Aboriginals from the Canadian Co-infection Cohort. HCV treatment-naïve individuals with at least two HCV RNA tests were included (n = 538). A spontaneous clearance case was defined as someone with two consecutive HCV RNA-negative tests, at least six months apart. Data were analyzed using Cox proportional hazards adjusted for sex and ethnicity. Advantageous variants and haplotypes were more common in Aboriginals than Caucasians: 57% vs. 46% had the rs12979860 CC genotype, respectively; 58% vs. 48%, rs8103142 TT; 74% vs. 67%, the rs12979860 C allele; and 67% vs. 64% the TCT haplotype with three favourable alleles. The adjusted Hazard Ratios (95% CI) for spontaneous clearance were: rs12979860: 3.80 (2.20, 6.54); rs8099917: 5.14 (2.46, 10.72); and rs8103142: 4.36 (2.49, 7.62). Even after adjusting for rs12979860, Aboriginals and females cleared HCV more often, HR (95% CI) = 1.53 (0.89, 2.61) and 1.42 (0.79, 2.53), respectively. Our results suggest that favourable IFNL3 genotypes are more common among Aboriginals than Caucasians, and may partly explain the higher HCV clearance rates seen among Aboriginals.
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