New Susceptibility and Resistance HLA-DP Alleles to HBV-Related Diseases Identified by a Trans-Ethnic Association Study in Asia

Previous studies have revealed the association between SNPs located on human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class II genes, including HLA-DP and HLA-DQ, and chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, mainly in Asian populations. HLA-DP alleles or haplotypes associated with chronic HBV infection or disease progression have not been fully identified in Asian populations. We performed trans-ethnic association analyses of HLA-DPA1, HLA-DPB1 alleles and haplotypes with hepatitis B virus infection and disease progression among Asian populations comprising Japanese, Korean, Hong Kong, and Thai subjects. To assess the association between HLA-DP and chronic HBV infection and disease progression, we conducted high-resolution (4-digit) HLA-DPA1 and HLA-DPB1 genotyping in a total of 3,167 samples, including HBV patients, HBV-resolved individuals and healthy controls. Trans-ethnic association analyses among Asian populations identified a new risk allele HLA-DPB1*09∶01 (P = 1.36×10−6; OR = 1.97; 95% CI, 1.50–2.59) and a new protective allele DPB1*02∶01 (P = 5.22×10−6; OR = 0.68; 95% CI, 0.58–0.81) to chronic HBV infection, in addition to the previously reported alleles. Moreover, DPB1*02∶01 was also associated with a decreased risk of disease progression in chronic HBV patients among Asian populations (P = 1.55×10−7; OR = 0.50; 95% CI, 0.39–0.65). Trans-ethnic association analyses identified Asian-specific associations of HLA-DP alleles and haplotypes with HBV infection or disease progression. The present findings will serve as a base for future functional studies of HLA-DP molecules in order to understand the pathogenesis of HBV infection and the development of hepatocellular carcinoma.