BACKGROUND. Experimental models suggest that immune cells recognize hepatitis C virus (HCV) through toll-like receptor (TLR)-2 and TLR4. We assessed the association between the single nucleotide polymorphism in genes that encode for these receptors and the outcome of liver transplantation for chronic HCV. METHODS. A historical cohort of 92 liver transplant patients with chronic HCV were screened for TLR2 Arg753Gln and TLR4 Asp299Gly and Thr399Ile polymorphisms. The results were correlated with the predefined composite primary outcome of cirrhosis, retransplantation, and death. Statistical analysis was performed using Kaplan-Meier estimation and Cox proportional hazard model. RESULTS. The mean patient age was 49±9 years. Sixty percent were male and 84% were white. Twelve (13%) patients had TLR2 Arg753Gln and 32 (35%) had TLR4 Asp299Gly and/or Thr399Ile polymorphism. During the mean follow-up period of 32 months after liver transplantation, the composite primary outcome occurred in 19 (24%) of 80 patients without TLR2 polymorphism, one (14%) of seven patients with heterozygous TLR2 polymorphism, and in all five (100%) patients with homozygous TLR2 polymorphism (P=0.0007). Time-to-event analysis showed a significant association between homozygous TLR2 polymorphism and the primary outcome (P<0.0001). After adjusting for donor age and azathioprine use, homozygous TLR2 mutation (RR 5.20 [1.65-13.9]; P=0.007) remained associated with the primary outcome. TLR4 polymorphisms were not associated with primary outcome. CONCLUSION. Homozygous TLR2 Arg753Gln polymorphism is associated with allograft failure and mortality after liver transplantation for chronic HCV. The potential clinical relevance of this observation should encourage studies to assess its biologic mechanism.
ASJC Scopus subject areas