Androgen Receptor Pathway and Risk of Hepatic Fibrosis in Hepatitis C

Summary

Principal Investigator: DONNA LORRAINE WHITE
Abstract: DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Cirrhosis or highly advanced fibrosis is the 13th leading cause of death in the U.S. The leading cause of cirrhosis is the hepatitis C virus infection which affects more than 4 million Americans. Males with hepatitis C infection are much more likely to develop cirrhosis (up to one-third after several decades of infection) compared to females. However, there are unexplained inter-individual differences in risk as most HCV-infected males do not develop cirrhosis even after accounting for other risk factors like alcohol use. One potential explanatory factor may be genetic variation in the male sex hormone or androgen receptor (AR) gene. It regulates or co-regulates many other diverse genes, many with likely important roles in liver disease risk including controlling cellular inflammation and DNA repair. Experimental data suggests the AR and also its androgen ligands including the primary male sex hormone testosterone may play a role in increasing risk of liver cancer due to another viral infection, Hepatitis B virus. Our group recently demonstrated that increased testosterone levels were associated with significantly increased risk of advanced liver disease based on results of blood tests in male veterans with chronic hepatitis C infection. We will use an age-matched case-control study performed in 200 Caucasian male veterans with chronic HCV to evaluate the association between the androgen mediated AR signaling pathway spanning from germline genotype to hepatic gene expression and the risk of cirrhosis in male veterans with chronic hepatitis C infection. We hypothesize that changes in genotype or endophenotype associated with enhanced AR pathway signaling will be associated with increased risk of advanced fibrosis. The two specific aims of our proposal are: Specific Aim 1: To determine if germline variations in the AR gene and in key functionally-related genes in the androgen-mediated androgen receptor (AR) signaling pathway (e.g., 5[unreadable]-reductase 2 (SRD5A2)) are associated with risk of advanced biopsy-determined hepatic fibrosis in Caucasian males with chronic hepatitis C infection. Specific Aim 2: To determine if variation in hepatic AR gene expression or in related AR signaling pathway genes is associated with risk of biopsy-confirmed advanced hepatic fibrosis in Caucasian males with chronic hepatitis C infection. This study has the potential to expand our understanding of the etiology of advanced liver fibrosis in males in the background of hepatitis C infection, with implications for screening and targeted therapies. It will also extend my NIDDK-sponsored K01 research and training in genetic epidemiology of chronic digestive and liver diseases, and also provide foundational data needed to support an R01 application I plan to submit in K01 Year 5 to more fully examine these hypotheses.
Funding Period: 2013-04-22 - 2015-03-31
more information: NIH RePORT

Top Publications

  1. pmc Many patients with interleukin 28B genotypes associated with response to therapy are ineligible for treatment because of comorbidities
    Fasiha Kanwal
    Clinical Epidemiology and Outcomes Program, Houston VA Health Services Research and Development Center of Excellence, Houston, Texas Department of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas Michael E DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Houston, Texas Electronic address
    Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 12:327-333.e1. 2014
  2. pmc WNT signaling pathway gene polymorphisms and risk of hepatic fibrosis and inflammation in HCV-infected patients
    Yanhong Liu
    Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, United States of America Dan L Duncan Cancer Center at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, United States of America
    PLoS ONE 8:e84407. 2013

Research Grants

Detail Information

Publications2

  1. pmc Many patients with interleukin 28B genotypes associated with response to therapy are ineligible for treatment because of comorbidities
    Fasiha Kanwal
    Clinical Epidemiology and Outcomes Program, Houston VA Health Services Research and Development Center of Excellence, Houston, Texas Department of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas Michael E DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Houston, Texas Electronic address
    Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 12:327-333.e1. 2014
    ..The potential role of IL28B genotype within the context of patients' clinical and social environment is therefore unclear...
  2. pmc WNT signaling pathway gene polymorphisms and risk of hepatic fibrosis and inflammation in HCV-infected patients
    Yanhong Liu
    Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, United States of America Dan L Duncan Cancer Center at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, United States of America
    PLoS ONE 8:e84407. 2013
    ..This study aimed to determine if genetic variation in Wnt signaling pathway genes are associated with advanced hepatic fibrosis and inflammation risk in a hepatitis C virus (HCV) infected population...

Research Grants30

  1. Viral Associated Liver Disease Phase III
    Alexander Monto; Fiscal Year: 2013
    ..By understanding precisely the benefits of treatment to veterans, we aim to use antiviral medications in the best way, and so reduce the long-term complications of liver disease and enhance the lives of veterans with HCV. ..
  2. Is HIV-associated lipodystrophy a risk factor for cirrhosis of the liver?
    George Ioannou; Fiscal Year: 2013
    ..5. Ultimately, help reduce the burden of cirrhosis which is the second leading cause of death in HIV-infected persons. ..
  3. USC Research Center for Liver Disease
    Neil Kaplowitz; Fiscal Year: 2013
    ....
  4. Gender and hormonal influences on liver fibrosis after transplant for hepatitis C
    KIMBERLY AUTUMN FORDE; Fiscal Year: 2013
    ..Using mixed effects models, hepatic fibrosis progression rates, in METAVIR stages, will be analyzed for the above exposures. Adjusted mixed effects models will be utilized to control for important confounding variables. ..
  5. NEW MODALITIES FOR TREATMENT OF PAIN AND DRUG ABUSE
    Victor J Hruby; Fiscal Year: 2013
    ....