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Immunol Lett. 2000 Oct 3;74(2):117-20.

Different cytokine profiles of peripheral blood mononuclear cells from patients with persistent and self-limited hepatitis C virus infection.

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  • 1Immunology Center, Medical School and Pasteur Institute of Morocco, Morocco.


An imbalance between T helper cell Th1 and Th2 like cytokines has been described in several chronic infectious diseases. In an attempt to characterise the mechanism responsible for viral persistence in hepatitis C virus (HCV)-related chronic infection, we analyzed Th1 cytokines (IL-2, IL-12, IFN-gamma) and Th2 cytokines (IL-4, IL-10) production by phytohemagglutinin (PHA)-stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) derived from ten patients with viremic chronic hepatitis C, five healthy HCV seropositive individuals and four HCV seronegative individuals. Cytokine production was determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) after 72 h of stimulation. The results showed that the production of IFN-gamma by PHA-stimulated PBMC was decreased in patients with hepatitis C infection (P=0.05). IL-4 production was not detected in both patients and controls, while no difference was observed for IL-2, IL-10 and IL-12 production between patients and controls. Furthermore, IL-12 and IFN-gamma production was weaker in patients with viremic chronic hepatitis C than in subjects who were able to clear the virus (P=0.01; P=0.03, respectively). These results clearly indicate that a defect both in IL-12 and IFN-gamma production may contribute to the persistence of HCV infection.

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