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J Infect Dis. 2011 Apr 15;203(8):1087-95. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiq165. Epub 2011 Mar 11.

Association of serum cytokine levels with treatment response to pegylated interferon and ribavirin therapy in genotype 1 chronic hepatitis C patients.

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Department of Medicine, Division of Hepatology and Gastroenterology, Shinshu University School of Medicine, Matsumoto, Japan.



We sought to clarify the associations among serum cytokines, amino acid substitutions in the interferon sensitivity-determining region (ISDR) and core region, and treatment outcome of pegylated interferon and ribavirin therapy in genotype 1 hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected patients.


We quantified a total of 8 serum cytokines before, during, and after treatment in 79 genotype 1 chronic HCV patients. Viral ISDR and core region variants were determined by direct sequencing.


High levels of interleukin (IL)-12 and IL-18 and more than 2 mutations in the ISDR were associated with a sustained virological response (SVR). Conversely, high baseline IL-10 levels and glutamine at amino acid 70 of the HCV core protein (Gln70) were significantly associated with a nonresponse to treatment, and patients with Gln70 had significantly higher IL-10 levels. In multivariate analysis, low IL-10, high IL-12, and high IL-18 levels were independently associated with an SVR. These 3 cytokine levels were decreased from baseline levels 4 weeks into treatment and remained low in patients with an SVR.


Serum IL-10, IL-12, and IL-18 levels are predictive of the response to HCV treatment with pegylated interferon and ribavirin and are associated with amino acid substitutions in the ISDR and core region.

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