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Journal of Immunology Research
Volume 2016, Article ID 9069375, 7 pages
Review Article

Clinical Relevance of HLA Gene Variants in HBV Infection

1Infectious Disease Hospital of Yantai, 62 Huanshan Road, Zhifu District, Yantai, Shandong 264001, China
2Hepatology Department, Qilu Hospital of Shandong University, 44 Wenhua West Road, Lixia District, Jinan, Shandong 250012, China

Received 22 February 2016; Accepted 14 April 2016

Academic Editor: Oscar Bottasso

Copyright © 2016 Li Wang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Host gene variants may influence the natural history of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. The human leukocyte antigen (HLA) system, the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) in humans, is one of the most important host factors that are correlated with the clinical course of HBV infection. Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) have shown that single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) near certain HLA gene loci are strongly associated with not only persistent HBV infection but also spontaneous HBV clearance and seroconversion, disease progression, and the development of liver cirrhosis and HBV-related hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in chronic hepatitis B (CHB). These variations also influence the efficacy of interferon (IFN) and nucleot(s)ide analogue (NA) treatment and response to HBV vaccines. Meanwhile, discrepant conclusions were reached with different patient cohorts. It is therefore essential to identify the associations of specific HLA allele variants with disease progression and viral clearance in chronic HBV infection among different ethnic populations. A better understanding of HLA polymorphism relevance in HBV infection outcome would enable us to elucidate the roles of HLA SNPs in the pathogenesis and clearance of HBV in different areas and ethnic groups, to improve strategies for the prevention and treatment of chronic HBV infection.