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J Interferon Cytokine Res. 1999 Sep;19(9):1011-8.

IFN-alpha receptor mRNA expression in a United States sample with predominantly genotype 1a/I chronic hepatitis C liver biopsies correlates with response to IFN therapy.

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Department of Medicine and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Worcester 01655, USA.


Our aim was to assess whether, in the United States, with the predominant hepatitis C viral (HCV) genotypes 1a/I and 1b/II, hepatic interferon-alpha receptor (IFNAR) mRNA expression correlated with response to IFN therapy, levels of HCV RNA, or histologic activity index (HAI). Nine of 24 patients (38%) had an initial response to IFN treatment, 5 of whom (21%) had a sustained response. The corrected hepatic IFNAR mRNA expression (measured by RT-PCR) for the sustained responder group (mean +/- SE, 0.16 +/- 0.06, n = 5) was significantly higher than for the nonresponding group (0.059 +/- 0.01, n = 15) (p < 0.02). Patients who relapsed had an intermediate value (0.092 +/- 0.029, n = 4). Higher IFNAR expression was inversely correlated with a lower serum HCV RNA titer (p < 0.01), and responders to IFN treatment tended to have a lower titer of HCV RNA (p = 0.056). We found no significant correlation between the amounts of IFNAR with (1) the total HAI (low HAI < or = 7, IFNAR 0.076 +/- 0.013, n = 10; high HAI > or = 8, IFNAR 0.092 +/- 0.027, n = 14, ns) or (2) individual inflammation, necrosis, or fibrosis components of the HAI. As with Japanese HCV patients with genotypes 1b/II-2b/IV, higher hepatic IFNAR mRNA expression in the United States with predominant genotypes 1a/I and 1b/II appears to correlate with response to IFN therapy and a low HCV RNA titer but not with the total HAI or its components.

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