Assessment of pro-inflammatory cytokines in sera of patients with hepatitis C virus infection before and after anti-viral therapy
Introduction: A number of cytokines have been implicated in hepatitis C virus (HCV)-related liver disease. This study aimed to assess the serum levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines in patients with HCV infection before (naïve) and after successful treatment (sustained responders) with Pegylated interferon and ribavirin.
Methodology: The present study included 19 naïve HCV patients and 8 sustained responders. Additionally, 20 healthy individuals were included as a control group. The serum levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokines interleukin-8 (IL-8), IL-6, IL-10, IL-1β, and IL-12p70 were measured using flow cytometry.
Results: The serum IL-8 levels were significantly higher in the naïve group (21.5±10.7 pg/mL; p = 0.02) than in the control group (14.1±1.7 pg/mL) and the sustained responder group (10.4±6.2 pg/mL; p = 0.002). The serum IL-6 levels were significantly higher in the naïve group (7.3±2.06 pg/mL; p = 0.02) than in the control group (5.9±1.01 pg/mL) whereas IL-6 in sustained responder group (6.4±1.5 pg/mL) was no different than naïve HCV patients or the controls. The serum IL-10 levels were significantly higher in the naïve group (4.42±0.64 pg/mL) than in the control group (3.6±0.34 pg/mL; p =0.0002) and not the sustained responder group (4.1±0.86 pg/mL). Moreover, the serum IL-12p70 levels were higher in the sustained responder group (3.43±0.84 pg/mL; p =0.05) than in the control group (2.76±0.83 pg/mL). There were no differences in the serum IL-1β levels among the groups.
Conclusion: Successful anti-viral therapy against HCV was associated with significant reductions in the serum IL-8 levels and skewing of the pretreatment Th2 dominant immune response to the Th1 response.
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