The association of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genotype and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection has been reported in many populations. In addition, the HLA genotype distribution has been found to differ according to ethnicity. Currently, there are no published data concerning this relationship in the Saudi population. Therefore, the primary objective of this study was to determine the relationship between HLA genotype and HCV infection in a group of haemodialysis patients in a tertiary hospital in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. A total of 152 haemodialysis patients and 160 controls were enrolled in the study. The patient group included 91 males and 61 females with a mean age of 48 years, who had been on haemodialysis for a period of 6 months to five years. The control group was randomly selected from donors attending the blood bank and included 155 males and five females with a mean age of 38 years. Of the patient group, 27 (17.8%) were found to have HCV antibodies by EIA. The seropositivity was confirmed by RIBA and by RT-PCR. The average viral load was 15 × 103 HCV RNA per 10 μl of plasma. The predominant HCV genotype was found to be genotype 4. HLA-class I and HLA class II were screened in 27 HCV-positive patients and in 30 age and sex matched controls by polymerase chain reaction/sequence specific primers (PCR/SSP) method. Measurements of cytokines Interleukin-2, 10, IFN-γ and TNFα showed that IL-2 level was 17.65 - 20.3 pg/l; IFN-γ was 22.15 - 41.1 pg/l; TNF-α was 2.5 - 5.6 pg/mL and IL-10 was 10.7 - 14.8 pg/mL. Measurement of CD markers showed the following: CD3 cells were measured. There was no correlation between infection with HCV and HLA type, cytokines levels and levels of different cell populations. CD markers are similar in the HCV-positive and HCV-negative hemodialysis patients. Further analysis and comparisons are needed, especially between the cytokines and CD markers in the hemodialysis patients and control groups.
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