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RANTES gene polymorphisms (-403G>A and -28C>G) associated with hepatitis B virus infection in a Saudi population

Author(s): A. Al-Qahtani, S. Alarifi, M. Al-Okail, Z. Hussain4, A. Abdo, F. Sanai, M. Al-Anazi, N. Khalaf, H. Al-Humaidan, M. Al-Ahdal and F.N. Almajhdi

Besides the host immune response, genetic and environmental factors play crucial roles in the manifestation of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. “Regulated on activation normal T-cell expressed and secreted” factor (RANTES) plays a vital role in CD4+, CD8+ T-lymphocyte and dendritic cell activation and proliferation in inflammation. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the RANTES gene are associated with several viral and non-viral diseases. Association studies have invariably indicated a lack of association between RANTES gene SNPs and HBV infection in ethnic populations, even though RANTES gene SNPs exhibit distinct ethnic distributions. Despite the high prevalence of HBV infections in Saudi Arabia, no studies have been made concerning a possible relationship between RANTES gene polymorphisms and susceptibility to and progression of HBV infection. We examined -403G>A and -28C>G RANTES gene variants in 473 healthy controls and 484 HBV patients in ethnic Saudi populations. Significant differences were found in the genotype and allele distributions of the SNPs between the controls and the HBV patients. Both SNPs were significantly linked to viral clearance in these subjects. Our data demonstrate for the first time in a Saudi population, a relationship between the RANTES gene polymorphisms and the clinical course of HBV infection and underscore the importance of evaluating the genetic background of the affected individual to determine how it may affect disease progression.