Hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected individuals may have a faster progression of liver fibrosis, cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) development when influenced by host, viral and environmental factors. Hepatitis C virus disease progression is also associated with genetic variants of specific killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIRs) and genes of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). The aim of the present study was to correlate clinical, virologic and biochemical parameters and to evaluate the possible influence of KIR genes and their HLA class I ligands in patients infected with hepatitis C virus. The present study analysed a total of 127 chronic HCV-infected patients for various biochemical and genetics factors that can influence disease progression and prognosis. Liver function parameters such as alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT), direct bilirubin (DB), alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), HCV RNA levels and fibrosis indices were analysed using well-established biochemical methods. At the same time, KIR and HLA genotyping was performed using a polymerase chain reaction sequence-specific primer technique. Analysis of HLA class I and HLA ligands revealed that HLA-C*12:02 and HLA-A3 and HLA-A11 were positively associated with the F3-F4 fibrosis group (p = .026; OR = 8.717, CI = 1.040-73.077; respectively, p = .047; OR = 2.187; 95% CI = 1.066-4.486). KIR2DL2-positive patients had high median levels of AST after treatment and direct bilirubin levels when compared to KIR2DL2-negative patients (p = .013, respectively, p = .028). KIR2DL2/KIR2DL2-C1C1 genotype was associated with increased AST, ALT and GGT levels. A higher GGT level was also observed in KIR2DS2-C1-positive patients when compared to KIR2DS2-C1-negative patients. The present research demonstrates several links between specific clinical, virologic and biochemical parameters and the expression of KIR genes and their HLA ligands in HCV-infected patients. These connections should be taken into account when considering disease development and treatment.
© 2020 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.