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World J Gastroenterol. 2006 Jun 28;12(24):3821-8.

Increased hepatic expression of insulin-like growth factor-I receptor in chronic hepatitis C.

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  • 1Laboratory for Cellular and Molecular Endocrinology, University of Sao Paulo Medical School, Diabetes Unit, Division of Endocrinology, Brazil.



Although increased insulin-like growth factor-I receptor (IGF-IR) gene expression has been reported in hepatocellular carcinoma, studies assessing IGF-IR in chronic hepatitis C (CHC) and cirrhosis are scarce. We therefore aimed to evaluate IGF-IR and IGF-I mRNA expression in liver from patient with CHC.


IGF-IR and IGF-I mRNA content were determined by semi-quantitative RT-PCR and IGF-IR protein expression was determined by immunohisto-chemistry in hepatic tissue obtained from patients with CHC before (34 patients) and after (10 patients) therapy with interferon-alpha and ribavirin.


An increase of IGF-IR mRNA content was observed in hepatic tissue obtained from all CHC patients as well as from 6 cadaveric liver donors following orthopic transplantation (an attempt to evaluate normal livers) in comparison to normal liver, while no relevant modifications were detected in IGF-I mRNA content. The immunohistochemical results showed that the raise in IGF-IR mRNA content was related both to ductular reaction and to increased IGF-IR expression in hepatocytes. A decrease in IGF-IR mRNA content was observed in patients who achieved sustained virological response after therapy, suggesting an improvement in hepatic damage.


The up-regulation of IGF-IR expression in hepatocytes of patients with CHC could constitute an attempt to stimulate hepatocyte regeneration. Considering that liver is the organ with the highest levels of IGF-I, our finding of increased IGF-IR expression after both acute and chronic hepatic damage highlights the need for additional studies to elucidate the role of IGF-I in liver regeneration.

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