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Genetic Variants in the Promoter Region of the Macrophage Migration Inhibitory Factor are Associated with the Severity of Hepatitis C Virus-Induced Liver Fibrosis.

Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Jul 31;20(15). pii: E3753. doi: 10.3390/ijms20153753.

Authors/Editors: Wirtz TH, Fischer P, Backhaus C, Bergmann I, Brandt EF, Heinrichs D, Koenen MT, Schneider KM, Eggermann T, Kurth I, Stoppe C, Bernhagen J, Bruns T, Fischer J, Berg T, Trautwein C, Berres ML.
Publication Date: 2019



Two polymorphisms in the promoter region of macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF)—rs755622 and rs5844572—exhibit prognostic relevance in inflammatory diseases. The aim of this study was to investigate a correlation between these MIF promoter polymorphisms and the severity of hepatitis C virus (HCV)-induced liver fibrosis. Our analysis included two independent patient cohorts with HCV-induced liver fibrosis (504 and 443 patients, respectively). The genotype of the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) -173 G/C and the repeat number of the microsatellite polymorphism -794 CATT5–8 were determined in DNA samples and correlated with fibrosis severity. In the first cohort, homozygous carriers of the C allele in the rs755622 had lower fibrosis stages compared to heterozygous carriers or wild types (1.25 vs. 2.0 vs. 2.0; p = 0.03). Additionally, ≥7 microsatellite repeats were associated with lower fibrosis stages (<F2) (p = 0.04). Comparable tendencies were observed in the second independent cohort, where fibrosis was assessed using transient elastography. However, once cirrhosis had been established, the C/C genotype and higher microsatellite repeats correlated with impaired liver function and a higher prevalence of hepatocellular carcinoma. Our study demonstrates that specific MIF polymorphisms are associated with disease severity and complications of HCV-induced fibrosis in a stage- and context-dependent manner.

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