Researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, have identified a gene, which explains why certain patients with chronic hepatitis C do not experience relapse after treatment. The discovery may contribute to more effective treatment.
More than 100 million humans around the world are infected with hepatitis C virus. The infection gives rise to chronic liver inflammation, which may result in reduced liver function, liver cirrhosis and liver cancer. Even though anti-viral medications often efficiently eliminate the virus, the infection recurs in approximately one fifth of the patients.
Prevents incorporation in DNA
Martin Lagging and co-workers at the Sahlgrenska Academy have studied an enzyme called inosine trifosfatas (ITPase), which normally prevents the incorporation of defective building blocks into RNA and DNA.
Unexpectedly they found that the gene encoding for ITPase (ITPA) had significance for the treatment outcome in chronic hepatitis C virus infection.
Five times lower risk
Earlier studies had shown that approximately one third of all people carry variants of the ITPA gene that result in reduced ITPase activity. The research team at the Sahlgrenska Academy showed that patients with these gene variants exhibited a more than a five times lower risk of experiencing relapse after treatment.
Relapse a significant problem
The study encompassed over 300 patients and was carried out in cooperation with hepatitis researchers in several Nordic countries.
- Relapse after completed treatment is a significant problem in chronic hepatitis C, and the results may contribute to explaining why the infection recurs in many patients. Our hypothesis is that a low ITPase activity results in defective nucleotides being incorporated into the virus RNA, which makes the virus unstable, Martin Lagging said.
Important to other virus infections
According to Martin Lagging, the discovery may also have significance for other virus infections.
- A medication that interferes with the enzyme’s activity could have a broad antiviral effect, but this must be further investigated in future studies.
The article Variants of the inosine triphosphate pyrophosphatase gene are associated with reduced relapse risk following treatment for HCV genotype 2/3 was published online in the journal Hepatology on 13 January 2014.
Link to the article: http://bit.ly/1nc4ly0
Martin Lagging, researcher at The Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg
Krister Svahn | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
ARTORG and Inselspital develop artificial pancreas
26.11.2015 | Universitätsspital Bern
Laboratory study: Scientists from Cologne explore a new approach to prevent newborn epilepsies
24.11.2015 | Deutsches Zentrum für Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen e.V. (DZNE)
Planet Earth experienced a global climate shift in the late 1980s on an unprecedented scale, fuelled by anthropogenic warming and a volcanic eruption, according to new research published this week.
Scientists say that a major step change, or ‘regime shift’, in the Earth’s biophysical systems, from the upper atmosphere to the depths of the ocean and from...
The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE has installed 70 photovoltaic modules on the outer façade of one of its lab buildings. The modules were...
Nerve cells cover their high energy demand with glucose and lactate. Scientists of the University of Zurich now provide new support for this. They show for the first time in the intact mouse brain evidence for an exchange of lactate between different brain cells. With this study they were able to confirm a 20-year old hypothesis.
In comparison to other organs, the human brain has the highest energy requirements. The supply of energy for nerve cells and the particular role of lactic acid...
In laser material processing, the simulation of processes has made great strides over the past few years. Today, the software can predict relatively well what will happen on the workpiece. Unfortunately, it is also highly complex and requires a lot of computing time. Thanks to clever simplification, experts from Fraunhofer ILT are now able to offer the first-ever simulation software that calculates processes in real time and also runs on tablet computers and smartphones. The fast software enables users to do without expensive experiments and to find optimum process parameters even more effectively.
Before now, the reliable simulation of laser processes was a job for experts. Armed with sophisticated software packages and after many hours on computer...
Researchers at Heidelberg University have devised a new way to study the phenomenon of magnetism. Using ultracold atoms at near absolute zero, they prepared a...
25.11.2015 | Event News
17.11.2015 | Event News
21.10.2015 | Event News
27.11.2015 | Press release
27.11.2015 | Life Sciences
27.11.2015 | Materials Sciences