Background & Aims: We aimed to assess the association between the patatin-like phospholipase domain-containing-3 (PNPLA3) I148M polymorphism, liver histology and long-term outcome in chronic hepatitis B (CHB) patients. Methods: We enrolled 531 consecutive treatment naïve CHB patients diagnosed from 1985 to 2012 with an available liver biopsy for reassessment, and sample for genetic testing. Data on all-cause mortality and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) at long-term follow-up were obtained from national database registries. Results: The prevalence of steatohepatitis increased with PNPLA3 CC (14%), CG (20%) and GG (43%) (P < 0.001). The association was altered by both gender (P = 0.010) and overweight (P = 0.015): the effect of PNPLA3 on steatohepatitis was most pronounced among non-overweight females (adjusted OR 13.4, 95%CI: 3.7-51.6, P < 0.001), and non-overweight males (adjusted OR 2.4, 95%CI: 1.4-4.3, P = 0.002). Furthermore, PNPLA3 GG genotype was associated with iron depositions (OR 2.8, 95%CI: 1.2-6.4, P = 0.014) and lobular inflammation (OR 2.2, 95%CI: 1.1-4.5, P = 0.032), but not with advanced fibrosis (OR 1.1, 95%CI: 0.7-1.8, P = 0.566). The median follow-up was 10.1 years (interquartile range 5.6 - 15.8), during which 13 patients developed HCC and 28 died. Steatohepatitis was associated with all-cause mortality [Hazard ratio (HR) 3.1, 95%CI: 1.3-7.3, P = 0.006] and HCC (HR 2.8, 95%CI: 0.9-9.2, P = 0.078), but no significant association was observed for PNPLA3. Conclusions: In this cohort of biopsied CHB patients, PNPLA3 was independently associated with steatosis, steatohepatitis, lobular inflammation and iron depositions, but not with advanced fibrosis, HCC development or all-cause mortality. The effect of PNPLA3 on steatohepatitis was particularly pronounced among female patients without severe overweight.

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Liver International
Department of Gastroenterology & Hepatology

Brouwer, W.P, van der Meer, A.J.P, Boonstra, P.A, Pas, S.D, de Knegt, R.J, de Man, R.A, … Janssen, H.L.A. (2015). The impact of PNPLA3 (rs738409 C>G) polymorphisms on liver histology and long-term clinical outcome in chronic hepatitis B patients. Liver International, 35(2), 438–447. doi:10.1111/liv.12695