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Gastroenterology. 2010 May;138(5):1875-84. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2010.02.004. Epub 2010 Feb 10.

Glucocorticosteroids increase cell entry by hepatitis C virus.

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  • 1Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Endocrinology, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany.

Abstract

BACKGROUND & AIMS:

Corticosteroids are used as immunosuppressants in patients with autoimmune disorders and transplant recipients. However, these drugs worsen hepatitis C virus (HCV) recurrence after liver transplantation, suggesting that they may directly exacerbate HCV infection.

METHODS:

The influence of immunosuppressive drugs on HCV replication, assembly, and entry was assessed in Huh-7.5 cells and primary human hepatocytes using cell culture- and patient-derived HCV. Replication was quantified by immunofluorescence, luciferase assays, quantitative reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, or core enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. Expression of HCV entry factors was evaluated by cell sorting and immunoblot analyses.

RESULTS:

Glucocorticosteroids slightly reduced HCV RNA replication but increased efficiency of HCV entry by up to 10-fold. This was independent of HCV genotype but specific to HCV because vesicular stomatitis virus glycoprotein-dependent infection was not affected by these drugs. The increase in HCV entry was accompanied by up-regulation of messenger RNA and protein levels of occludin and the scavenger receptor class B type I-2 host cell proteins required for HCV infection; increase of entry by glucocorticosteroids was ablated by RU-486, an inhibitor of glucocorticosteroid signaling. Glucocorticosteroids increased propagation of cell culture-derived HCV approximately 5- to 10-fold in partially differentiated human hepatoma cells and increased infection of primary human hepatocytes by cell culture- and patient-derived HCV.

CONCLUSIONS:

Glucocorticosteroides specifically increase HCV entry by up-regulating the cell entry factors occludin and scavenger receptor class B type I. Our data suggest that the potential effects of high-dose glucocorticosteroids on HCV infection in vivo may be due to increased HCV dissemination.

Copyright 2010 AGA Institute. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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PMID:
20152835
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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