Published online Oct 7, 2006. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v12.i37.5964
Revised: May 12, 2006
Accepted: July 18, 2006
Published online: October 7, 2006
AIM: To evaluate the genotype distribution of hepatitis B virus (HBV) in Eastern India and to clarify the phylogenetic origin and virological characteristics of the recently identified genotype C in this region.
METHODS: Genotype determination, T1762/A1764 mutation in the basal core promoter (BCP) and A1896 mutation in the precore region of 230 subjects were determined by restriction fragment length polymorphism method (RFLP) and the result was confirmed by direct sequencing.
RESULTS: The predominant genotypes D (HBV/D) and A (HBV/A) were detected in 131/230 (57%) and 57/230 (25%) samples. In addition, genotype C (HBV/C) was detected in 42/230 (18%) isolates. Surface gene region was sequenced from 45 isolates (27 HBV/C, 9 HBV/A and 9 HBV/D). Phylogenetic analysis revealed that all of the HBV/C sequences clustered with South East Asian subgenotype (HBV/Cs). The sequence data showed remarkable similarity with a Thai strain (AF068756) (99.5% ± 0.4% nucleotide identities) in 90% of the genotype C strains analyzed. T1762/A1764 mutation in BCP region, associated with high ALT was significantly higher in HBeAg negative isolates than HBeAg positive isolates. Frequency of A1896 mutation leading to HBeAg negativity was low.
CONCLUSION: The present study reports the genotypic distribution and the characteristics of partial genome sequences of HBV/C isolates from Eastern India. Low genetic diversity and confinement of HBV/C in Eastern India possibly indicate a recent, limited, spread in this region. Genotype C with T1762/A1764 mutation has been reported to increase the risk for hepatocellular carcinoma; therefore genotype C carriers in Eastern India should be carefully monitored.