Endogenous levels of mRNA for IFNs and IFN-related genes in hepatic biopsies of chronic HCV-infected and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis patients.


:To investigate the intra-hepatic activation of the IFN system in patients affected by chronic HCV-infection in comparison with that observed in a non-infectious liver disease such as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, we measured the liver steady state mRNA levels of interferon-alpha, interferon-beta and interferon-gamma as well as of IFN-related genes (IFNAR-1, STAT1alpha, PKR, 2-5 AS, IRF-1, ICE and IL-18). In HCV-infected subjects, possible correlations of these parameters with viral load and liver injury were also analyzed. Twenty-four chronic untreated HCV-infected subjects and seven patients with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis were enrolled in the study. Liver biopsies were graded according to Knodell scores. Intra-hepatic mRNA levels of IFNs and related genes were assessed by semi-quantitative RT-PCR. In comparison with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, in HCV-infected subjects IFN-alpha and -beta mRNA levels were significantly lower, whereas IFN-gamma, IFNAR-1, STAT1alpha IRF-1, and IL-18 mRNA were upregulated. Moreover, IFN-gamma mRNA steady state levels were correlated positively with those of IFNAR-1, IRF-1, and IL-18, suggesting a coordinated induction of these genes. Although plasma viral load was correlated inversely with IL-18-specific mRNA, viral load was not related to liver injury. IFN-gamma and IRF-1 mRNA levels were correlated positively with ALT, but not with the grading or staging. Conversely, IFN-alpha and -beta mRNA levels were higher in livers with lower staging scores. These findings support the hypothesis that in chronic HCV infection there is an imbalance between an upregulated IFN-gamma system and a downregulated IFN-alpha and -beta system, probably due to a mixed effect exerted by HCV-specific and inflammatory non-specific factors.


J Med Virol


Abbate I,Romano M,Longo R,Cappiello G,Lo Iacono O,Di Marco V,Paparella C,Spano A,Capobianchi MR





Has Abstract


2003-08-01 00:00:00












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