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Genetic Components Affect Liver Transplant Prognosis

Researchers link genotype, compatibility factors with recurrence and progression of hepatitis C

FRIDAY, April 10 (HealthDay News) -- In liver transplant recipients, killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptor genotype and killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptor-human leukocyte antigen C ligand compatibility may significantly affect the recurrence and progression of hepatitis C disease, according to a study published in the April issue of Liver Transplantation.

Alejandro Espadas de Arias, M.D., of the Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico in Milan, Italy, and colleagues followed 151 patients for 10 years. Liver biopsies were used to define the absence and presence of recurrent hepatitis, the degree of fibrosis, and the progression to cirrhosis.

The researchers found that mismatching of killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptor-human leukocyte antigen-C ligands between donor-recipient pairs was associated with recurrent hepatitis; that killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptor-2DL3 in recipients was associated with fibrosis progression; and that both factors predicted the progression of recurrent hepatitis to fibrosis.

"These results might have important implications in terms of frequency of protocol biopsies and consideration of antiviral therapy," states the author of an accompanying editorial. "The data will be useful in contributing to future strategies that will ensure optimum use of limited donor organs. This study supports a model in which activation of natural killer cells in this setting has both beneficial and detrimental influences on hepatitis C virus recurrence in hepatitis C virus-infected liver transplant recipients, that is, protection versus injury of the allograft. Confirmation of these results in larger natural history studies is warranted."

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