Cohort Profile: Golestan Hepatitis B Cohort Study-A Prospective Long Term Study in Northern Iran

Aezam Katoonizadeh, Hossein Poustchi, Mohammad Reza Ostovaneh, Shirin Moossavi, Maryam Sharafkhah, Saeed Esmaili, Akram Pourshams, Ashraf Mohamadkhani, Sima Besharat, Shahin Merat, Mehdi Mohamadnejad, Jacob George, Reza Malekzadeh


Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is the most common cause of end stage
liver disease in Iran and in Golestan province. Large-scale population-based prospective cohort studies with long term follow-up are the method of choice to accurately understand the natural course of HBV infection. To date, several studies of HBV epidemiology, natural history, progression to cirrhosis and association with HCC have been reported from other countries. However, few of these are prospective and fewer still are population-based. Moreover, the underlying molecular mechanisms and immunogenetic determinants of the outcome of HBV infection especially in low and middle income countries remains largely unknown. Therefore, the hepatitis B cohort study (HBCS), nested as part of the Golestan Cohort Study (GCS), Golestan, Iran was established in 2008 with the objective to prospectively investigate the natural course of
chronic hepatitis B with reference to its epidemiology, viral/host genetic interactions, clinical features and outcome in the Middle East where genotype D HBV accounts for >90% of infections. In 2008, a baseline measurement of HBV surface antigen (HBsAg) was performed on stored serum samples of all GCS participants. A sub-cohort of 3,505 individuals were found to be HBsAg positive and were enrolled in the Golestan HBCS. In 2011, all first degree relatives of HBsAg positive subjects including their children and spouses were invited for HBV serology screening and those who were positive for HBsAg were also included in the Golestan HBCS.


Hepatitis B virus;Golestan Cohort Profile;Serology screening

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