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J Antimicrob Chemother. 2012 May;67(5):1238-45. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkr595. Epub 2012 Jan 31.

Plasma IL-6 and IL-9 predict the failure of interferon-α plus ribavirin therapy in HIV/HCV-coinfected patients.

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Laboratorio de Epidemiología Molecular de Enfermedades Infecciosas, Centro Nacional de Microbiología, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Majadahonda, Madrid, Spain.



The cytokine profile plays an important role in treatment outcome of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, and probably modulates the immune response against HCV. The aim of this study was to evaluate which cytokines affect the response to interferon-α (IFN-α) and ribavirin therapy and how these cytokines change 72 weeks after starting anti-HCV therapy in HIV/HCV-coinfected patients.


We carried out a retrospective follow-up study of 65 patients on anti-HCV therapy. A sustained virological response (SVR) was defined as an undetectable HCV viral load up to 24 weeks after the end of treatment. Cytokines were measured using a multiplex immunoassay kit.


On starting anti-HCV therapy, non-responder (NR) patients had higher levels of interleukin (IL)-6, IL-9, IL-10 and tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α (P < 0.05), while IL-17A levels were increased in SVR patients (P = 0.058). However, only patients with high levels of IL-6 and IL-9 had decreased odds to achieve SVR (P < 0.05). Plasma levels of IL-6 and IL-9 had a high predictive value for SVR failure [area under the ROC curve (AUC) 0.839 (95% CI 0.733-0.945) and AUC 0.769 (95% CI 0.653-0.884)]. In addition, during anti-HCV therapy, IL-1β showed an increase in NR patients (P = 0.015) and IL-10 decreased in SVR patients (P = 0.049). After clearing HCV infection, low levels of TNF-α, IL-6, IL-9, IL-10, IL-13 and IL-22 were found in SVR patients (P < 0.05), as well as IL-1β, but only near statistical significance (P = 0.073).


High plasma levels of IL-6 and IL-9 had a high predictive value for SVR failure. Furthermore, clearing of HCV infection was associated with low inflammatory and T helper (Th)2/Th9/Th22 cytokine levels.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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