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J Hepatol. 2003 Feb;38(2):230-6.

Enhanced monocyte Th1 cytokine production in HCV-infected cryoglobulinemic patients.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Medicina Interna, Cardioangiologia ed Epatologia, Universit√† degli Studi di Bologna, Bologna, Italy.



The etiologic link between chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and mixed cryoglobulinemia is well established, while its prognostic significance within the context of HCV-related hepatitis is not as clear. Patients with an HCV-related cryoglobulinemic syndrome oft have mild liver disease, an aspect that can be influenced by an individual's Th1/Th2 orientation. Our goal was to document stigmata of differentiate cytokine production in this subgroup of patients.


Fifteen patients with chronic HCV-related liver disease (CLD) and a cryoglobulinemic syndrome (CRYO) were compared to age/sex matched CLD controls with negative cryocrit. Cultured monocytes were stimulated with either Staphylococcus aureus (SAC) or lipopolysaccharide (LPS).


The protein concentrations of TNF-alpha and of the Th1-type cytokines interleukin (IL)-12 and IL-18 were significantly greater in the CRYO group, while IL-10 (a Th2 cytokine) levels were greater in the control group.


The clinical distinctiveness of the two groups was reflected at the cytokine level. The cryoglobulinemic patients studied showed a greater Th1 polarization than their cryoglobulin-negative counterparts. This enhanced production of Th1-type cytokines is seemingly not able to rid the host of infection but may account for a milder course of liver disease.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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