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Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2001 Jun;125(2):176-81.

Total serum IgE levels in chronic hepatitis C: influence of interferon alpha therapy.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Complejo Hospitalario Universitario de Santiago, Santiago de Compostela, Spain. mearturo@uscmail.usc.es



Liver disease has been considered a prominent cause of IgE elevation. No data on serum IgE levels in chronic hepatitis C have been reported. Interferon-alpha is a standard therapy for chronic hepatitis C. Cytokine use is a promising type of immunomodulation in the treatment of IgE-mediated diseases. The effects of interferon-alpha therapy on serum IgE have not been fully evaluated. The aim of the study was to evaluate both serum IgE levels in patients with chronic hepatitis C and the course of these levels after interferon-alpha therapy.


Serum IgE was determined in 100 adult patients with chronic hepatitis C (24 atopics according to positive skin prick tests and 76 nonatopics) and in 75 healthy controls (25 atopics and 50 nonatopics). Serum IgE measurements were repeated at 1 and 3 months of therapy with recombinant interferon-alpha (3 x 106 units s.c. 3 times weekly) in 34 of these patients.


Serum IgE levels were similar in chronic hepatitis C patients and in controls when adjusted for atopic status. Among patients with chronic hepatitis C, serum IgE levels were unrelated to liver necroinflammatory activity. A modest but statistically significant increase of IgE values was observed after interferon-alpha therapy, particularly in patients with no virological response.


Chronic hepatitis C is not a significant cause of increased total serum IgE values. Serum IgE increase in some patients with liver disease may be related to the cause of liver injury and not to liver disease per se. Interferon-alpha therapy in patients with chronic hepatitis C is followed by no modification or even a moderate increase of serum IgE values.

Copyright 2001 S. Karger AG, Basel

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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