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Viruses. 2010 Aug;2(8):1589-602. doi: 10.3390/v2081589. Epub 2010 Aug 5.

Interferon-λ in HCV Infection and Therapy.

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1
Department of Pathology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06510, USA; E-Mail: nicole.pagliaccetti@yale.edu.

Abstract

Chronic infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) is associated with significant liver disease and is therefore an important public health problem. The current standard-of-care therapy for chronic HCV infection consists of a combination of pegylated (PEG) interferon (IFN)-α and ribavirin. Although this therapy effectively generates a sustained viral response in approximately half of treated individuals, it is associated with significant hematological and neurological side effects. A new family of IFN-related proteins (IFN-λ1, 2, and 3; or alternately, IL-29, 28A, 28B, respectively) possesses properties that may make these cytokines superior to PEG-IFN-α for HCV therapy. Genetic studies have also implicated these proteins in both the natural and therapy-induced resolution of HCV infection. This review summarizes the basic aspects of IFN-λ biology, the potential role of these cytokines in HCV infection, and the outlook for their therapeutic application.

KEYWORDS:

IFN-λ; IL-28; IL-28Rα; IL-29; IL28B; type III interferon

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