Because of the high prevalence and absence of cure for infection, chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection has been acknowledged as a pressing public health issue. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) activate the human innate immune system and the polymorphisms in TLRs may alter their function. The present study aimed to investigate the association between TLR polymorphisms and disease progression of chronic HBV infection.
During the study period, 211 treatment-naïve patients with chronic HBV infection were recruited, and blood samples were collected from each individual. Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time of flight mass spectrometry was employed to genotype the selected TLR polymorphisms after human genome extraction. In addition, HbsAg, TNF-α, and IL-6 levels were quantified using enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Statistical analyses were conducted to investigate the association between TLR polymorphisms and hepatitis activity, liver function parameters, HbsAg level, and cytokine level.
We did not observe any mutations in rs4986790, rs4986791, and rs5743708 among all study subjects. A logistic regression revealed that mutations in rs3804099 and rs4696480 were associated with milder hepatitis activity. Consistent with the logistic regression, improved liver function parameters and reduced level of both HbsAg and cytokines were also correlated with the mutant carriers of rs3804099 and rs4696480.
TLR mutations were significantly associated with milder hepatitis activity among patients with chronic HBV infection. Therefore, we conclude that the activation of TLR pathways may further intensify the inflammation of hepatocytes, and leads to progression of disease.
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