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Hepatogastroenterology. 2005 Mar-Apr;52(62):547-51.

Up-regulation of IL-18 by interferon alpha-2b/ribavirin combination therapy induces an anti-viral effect in patients with chronic hepatitis C.

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  • 1First Department of Internal Medicine, Mie University School of Medicine, Tsu, Mie, Japan. atarum@clin.medic.mie-u.ac.jp

Abstract

BACKGROUND/AIMS:

Recent large prospective trials demonstrated that the combination therapy of interferon (IFN)-alpha/ribavirin significantly increased a sustained virological response rate in patients with chronic hepatitis C. However, the potential mechanism of ribavirin is not clear.

METHODOLOGY:

Serum interleukin (IL)-18 and HCV-RNA titer were determined before and 2 weeks after administration in patients with chronic hepatitis C, who were treated with ribavirin in combination with IFN-alpha2b (combination group), and with IFN-alpha2b alone (monotherapy group).

RESULTS:

All HCV patients were genotype 1b. In the combination group, the decline of HCV-RNA level by treatment highly correlated with the IL-18 ratio (serum IL-18 level 2 weeks after administration/serum IL-18 level before administration). Similarly, the HCV-RNA level 2 weeks after administration inversely correlated with the IL-18 ratio. In contrast, the IL-18 ratio in the monotherapy group was lower. Furthermore, the decline of HCV-RNA level did not correlate with the IL-18 ratio in the monotherapy group.

CONCLUSIONS:

This study suggests that ribavirin may contribute to the antiviral effect through up-regulation of IL-18 in combination with IFN in patients with chronic hepatitis C.

PMID:
15816475
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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