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J Hepatol. 2006 May;44(5):848-55. Epub 2006 Feb 17.

Alterations of leptin during IFN-alpha therapy in patients with chronic viral hepatitis.

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Research Laboratory of Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, Medical School, University of Thessaly, 41222 Larissa, Greece.



Leptin has a particular profibrogenic role in the liver. We investigated whether IFN-alpha influences leptin production in patients with chronic hepatitis B (CHB) and C (CHC). Leptin was determined in serial samples from 63 CHB and 42 CHC IFN-alpha treated patients. Furthermore, we evaluated whether leptin alterations were associated with patients' characteristics.


Sera were investigated at serial time-points using an enzyme-linked-immunosorbent-assay. Controls consisted of 36 patients with autoimmune liver diseases and 44 healthy patients.


Leptin levels before IFN-alpha administration were higher in CHB and CHC compared to healthy (P<0.004) and diseased controls (P=0.0001). In CHB patients, we observed a significant reduction of leptin during IFN-alpha treatment and lasting for up to 6 months after the end of treatment, followed by an increase reaching pretreatment levels at 1.5 years after stopping therapy. The pattern of leptin alterations was similar in CHC patients where leptin's decrease was more pronounced at 6 months after the end of treatment. Biochemical or virological response to treatment was not associated with leptin reduction in both groups.


This study provides information on leptin kinetics during IFN-alpha treatment and follow-up in CHB and CHC patients and suggests IFN-alpha as a potential inhibitor of leptin production.

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