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J Biomed Sci. 2001 Jul-Aug;8(4):321-7.

Modulation of tumor necrosis factor receptors 1 and 2 in chronic hepatitis B and C: the differences and implications in pathogenesis.

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  • 1Liver Research Unit, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital and Chang Gung University, College of Medicine Taipei, Taiwan, ROC.


Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) plays a role in the pathogenesis of chronic hepatitis B (CHB) and chronic hepatitis C (CHC). The difference in the cytokine responses between hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections may have implications in the pathogenesis of these diseases. We performed a comparative study to examine the possible differences in the TNF-TNF receptor (TNFR) response between CHB and CHC. We studied the cytokine levels of 38 patients with CHB, 40 patients with CHC and 9 patients with dual hepatitis B and C, and compared them with the baseline levels of 12 healthy controls. The plasma levels of TNF-alpha, interferon-gamma, interleukin (IL)-2, IL-4, IL-10 and soluble TNFR-1 and 2 (sTNFR-1 and 2) were quantified by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. The expression of TNFR-1 and 2 in liver tissues was examined in 30 cases of CHB and 15 cases of CHC by semiquantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. The results showed that sTNFR-1 levels correlated with liver inflammation in all patients, whereas this correlation was not found with sTNFR-2 or other cytokines. Liver inflammation indicators were higher in HCV RNA+ than in HCV RNA- CHC. Most significantly, sTNFR-1 levels correlated with liver inflammation in CHB, but not in CHC. However, the expression of TNFR-1 and 2 in liver was similar between CHB and CHC. These findings suggest that the TNFR signal transduction pathway is modulated differently in HBV and HCV infection.

Copyright 2001 National Science Council, ROC and S. Karger AG, Basel

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