Korean J Parasitol.  2017 Jun;55(3):295-304. 10.3347/kjp.2017.55.3.295.

Subsets of Inflammatory Cytokine Gene Polymorphisms are Associated with Risk of Carcinogenic Liver Fluke Opisthorchis viverrini-Associated Advanced Periductal Fibrosis and Cholangiocarcinoma

  • 1Biomedical Sciences, Graduate School, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand.
  • 2WHO Collaborating Centre for Research and Control of Opisthorchiasis (Southeast Asian Liver Fluke Disease), Tropical Disease Research Center, Khon Kaen, Thailand. banchob@kku.ac.th
  • 3Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand.
  • 4Department of Radiology, Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand.
  • 5Liver Fluke and Cholangiocarcinoma Research Center, and Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen 40002, Thailand.
  • 6Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Tropical Medicine, and Research Center for Neglected Tropical Diseases of Poverty, School of Medicine & Health Sciences, The George Washington University, Washington DC, 20037, USA.


Opisthorchis viverrini infection induces chronic inflammation, and a minor proportion of infected individuals develop advanced periductal fibrosis (APF) and cholangiocarcinoma (CCA). Inflammatory cytokines and/or their gene polymorphisms may link to these biliary pathologies. We therefore investigated associations among cytokine gene polymorphisms and cytokine production in 510 Thai cases infected with O. viverrini who presented with APF+ or APF−, as established by abdominal ultrasonography as well as in patients diagnosed with CCA. Levels of pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines were determined in culture supernatants after stimulation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) with O. viverrini excretory-secretory (ES) products. Pro-inflammatory cytokines, IL-1β, IL-6, IFN-γ, LT-α, and TNF-α were significantly increased in CCA patients compared with non-CCA (APF− and APF+) cases. Polymorphisms in genes encoding IL-1β-511C/T, IL-6-174G/C, IFN-γ +874T/A, LT-α +252A/G, and TNF-α−308G/A were then investigated by using PCR-RFLP or allele specific-PCR (AS-PCR) analyses. In the CCA cases, LT-α +252A/G and TNF-α−308G/A heterozygous and homozygous variants showed significantly higher levels of these cytokines than the wild type. By contrast, levels of cytokines in wild type of IFN-γ +874T/A were significantly higher than the variants in CCA cases. IFN-γ +874T/A polymorphisms were associated with advanced periductal fibrosis, whereas IL-6 −174G/C polymorphisms were associated with CCA. To our knowledge, these findings provide the first demonstration that O. viverrini infected individuals carrying several specific cytokine gene polymorphisms are susceptible to develop fibrosis and CCA.


Opisthorchis viverrini; hepatobiliary disease; advanced periductal fibrosis; cholangiocarcinoma; cytokine gene polymorphisms
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