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1.  Hepatitis B among Inuit: A review with focus on Greenland Inuit 
World Journal of Hepatology  2015;7(9):1265-1271.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is a disease with a highly variable course. Chronic HBV infection may cause end-stage liver disease including cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma, which is the 3rd most common cause of cancer related death due to the poor prognosis. The prevalence of HBV infection is low in many countries. Still, it remains important due to the potential consequences of the disease. HBV is endemic in the Arctic with serologic markers of chronic HBV infection in up to 29% of the population in some areas in Greenland. Interestingly, Inuit populations rarely show signs of liver disease despite the fact that around half of all Inuit has been exposed to HBV and around 8% of Inuit are chronically infected with HBV. These findings have been consistent in surveys conducted for more than four decades among Arctic Inuit. We thus review HBV infection in the Arctic with focus on Greenland Inuit and compared with Inuit in Canada, Alaska and Siberia. The aspects described include epidemiology and monitoring of the disease, as well as treatment and the risk of liver cancer.
PMCID: PMC4438501  PMID: 26019742
Hepatitis B; Hepatitis D; Monitoring disease; Prevention; Liver cancer; Inuit; Greenland; Arctic
2.  Liver biochemistry and associations with alcohol intake, hepatitis B virus infection and Inuit ethnicity: a population-based comparative epidemiological survey in Greenland and Denmark 
International Journal of Circumpolar Health  2016;75:10.3402/ijch.v75.29528.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is common in Arctic populations and high alcohol intake has been associated with an increased risk of a number of diseases. Yet, a description of the influence of alcohol intake in persons with HBV infection on liver biochemistry is lacking.
We aimed to describe the association between reported alcohol intake and liver biochemistry taking into account also HBV infection, ethnicity, Inuit diet, body mass index (BMI), gender and age in an Arctic population.
Design and methods
Population-based investigation of Inuit (n=441) and non-Inuit (94) in Greenland and Inuit living in Denmark (n=136). Participants filled in a questionnaire on alcohol intake and other life style factors. Blood samples were tested for aspartate aminotransferase (AST), gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), bilirubin, albumin, hepatitis B surface antigen, hepatitis B surface antibody and hepatitis B core antibody. We also performed physical examinations.
Participation rate was 95% in Greenland and 52% in Denmark. An alcohol intake above the recommended level was reported by 12.9% of non-Inuit in Greenland, 9.1% of Inuit in East Greenland, 6.1% of Inuit migrants and 3.4% of Inuit in the capital of Greenland (p=0.035). Alcohol intake was associated with AST (p<0.001) and GGT (p=0.001), and HBV infection was associated with ALP (p=0.001) but not with AST, GGT, bilirubin or albumin in the adjusted analysis. Inuit had higher AST (p<0.001), GGT (p<0.001) and ALP (p=0.001) values than non-Inuit after adjustment for alcohol, diet, BMI and HBV exposure. Ethnic origin modified the association between alcohol and AST, while HBV infection did not modify the associations between alcohol and liver biochemistry.
Non-Inuit in Greenland reported a higher alcohol intake than Inuit. Ethnic origin was more markedly associated with liver biochemistry than was alcohol intake, and Greenlandic ethnicity modified the effect of alcohol intake on AST. HBV infection was slightly associated with ALP but not with other liver biochemistry parameters.
PMCID: PMC4772703  PMID: 26928535
alcohol intake; hepatitis B virus infection; liver biochemistry; ethnicity Greenland Inuit; migration; Denmark Arctic Greenland
3.  Genetic Variants in the Apoptosis Gene BCL2L1 Improve Response to Interferon-Based Treatment of Hepatitis C Virus Genotype 3 Infection 
Genetic variation upstream of the apoptosis pathway has been associated with outcome of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. We investigated genetic polymorphisms in the intrinsic apoptosis pathway to assess their influence on sustained virological response (SVR) to pegylated interferon-α and ribavirin (pegIFN/RBV) treatment of HCV genotypes 1 and 3 infections. We conducted a candidate gene association study in a prospective cohort of 201 chronic HCV-infected individuals undergoing treatment with pegIFN/RBV. Differences between groups were compared in logistic regression adjusted for age, HCV viral load and interleukin 28B genotypes. Four single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) located in the B-cell lymphoma 2-like 1 (BCL2L1) gene were significantly associated with SVR. SVR rates were significantly higher for carriers of the beneficial rs1484994 CC genotypes. In multivariate logistic regression, the rs1484994 SNP combined CC + TC genotypes were associated with a 3.4 higher odds ratio (OR) in SVR for the HCV genotype 3 (p = 0.02). The effect estimate was similar for genotype 1, but the association did not reach statistical significance. In conclusion, anti-apoptotic SNPs in the BCL2L1 gene were predictive of SVR to pegIFN/RBV treatment in HCV genotypes 1 and 3 infected individuals. These SNPs may be used in prediction of SVR, but further studies are needed.
PMCID: PMC4346890  PMID: 25648321
apoptosis in HCV treatment; prediction of sustained virological response; host genetics; interferon and apoptosis interaction; spontaneous HCV resolution
4.  Hepatitis C prevalence in Denmark -an estimate based on multiple national registers 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2012;12:178.
A national survey for chronic hepatitis C has not been performed in Denmark and the prevalence is unknown. Our aim was to estimate the prevalence of chronic hepatitis C from public registers and the proportion of these patients who received specialized healthcare.
Patients with a diagnosis of chronic hepatitis C were identified from four national registers: a laboratory register, the Hospital Discharge Register, a clinical database of chronic viral hepatitis and the Register of Communicable Diseases. The total population diagnosed with hepatitis C was estimated by capture-recapture analysis. The population with undiagnosed hepatitis C was derived from the national register of drug users by comparing diagnosed and tested persons.
A total of 6,935 patients diagnosed with chronic hepatitis C were identified in the four registers and the estimated population diagnosed with the disease was 9,166 persons (95% C.I. interval 8,973 – 9,877), corresponding to 0.21% (95% CI 0.21%-0.23%) of the Danish population over 15years of age. The prevalence was highest among persons 40–49years old (0.39%) and males (0.28%). It was estimated that 40% of the diagnosed patients lived in the capital region, and 33.5% had attended specialised healthcare. It was estimated that 46% of hepatitis C patients had not been diagnosed and the total population with chronic hepatitis C in Denmark was 16,888 (95% C.I. 16,474-18,287), corresponding to 0.38% (95% CI 0.37-0.42) of the population over 15years of age.
The estimated prevalence of chronic hepatitis C in Denmark was 0.38%. Less than half of the patients with chronic hepatitis C in Denmark have been identified and among these patients, one in three has attended specialised care.
PMCID: PMC3447638  PMID: 22866925
5.  High recovery of cell-free methylated DNA based on a rapid bisulfite-treatment protocol 
BMC Molecular Biology  2012;13:12.
Detection of cell-free methylated DNA in plasma is a promising tool for tumour diagnosis and monitoring. Due to the very low amounts of cell-free DNA in plasma, analytical sensitivity is of utmost importance. The vast majority of currently available methods for analysing DNA methylation are based on bisulfite-mediated deamination of cytosine. Cytosine is rapidly converted to uracil during bisulfite treatment, whereas 5-methylcytosine is only slowly converted. Hence, bisulfite treatment converts an epigenetic modification into a difference in sequence, amenable to analysis either by sequencing or PCR based methods. However, the recovery of bisulfite-converted DNA is very poor.
Here we introduce an alternative method for the crucial steps of bisulfite treatment with high recovery. The method is based on an accelerated deamination step and alkaline desulfonation in combination with magnetic silica purification of DNA, allowing preparation of deaminated DNA from patient samples in less than 2 hours.
The method presented here allows low levels of DNA to be easily and reliably analysed, a prerequisite for the clinical usefulness of cell-free methylated DNA detection in plasma.
PMCID: PMC3324385  PMID: 22448717

Results 1-5 (5)