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Hepatology. 2015 Oct;62(4):1047-58. doi: 10.1002/hep.27971. Epub 2015 Aug 22.

Temporal dynamics of inflammatory cytokines/chemokines during sofosbuvir and ribavirin therapy for genotype 2 and 3 hepatitis C infection.

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Department of Medicine, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA.
Department of Pediatrics, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA.
Gilead Sciences, Foster City, CA.


The analysis of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines produced during hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection has advanced our understanding of viral-host interactions and identified predictors of treatment response. Administration of interferons (IFNs) made it difficult to interpret biomarkers of immune activation during treatment. Direct-acting antiviral (DAA) regimens without IFN are now being used to treat HCV with excellent efficacy. To gain insight into HCV-host interactions occurring before, during, and after HCV treatment, we performed a case-control study that measured serial plasma levels of IFN-γ-inducible protein 10 (IP-10), monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP-1), macrophage inflammatory protein 1 beta (MIP-1β), and interleukin-18 (IL-18) in 131 patients with chronic HCV treated with sofosbuvir (SOF) plus ribavirin (RBV). A linear regression analysis using baseline factors identified strong positive associations between elevated alanine aminotransferase and pretreatment IP-10 and between the presence of cirrhosis and elevated pretreatment IL-18. Mean IP-10, MCP-1, MIP-1β, and IL-18 levels all decline on therapy, but display different dynamics late in treatment and after cessation of therapy. On treatment, IP-10 and MIP-1β levels were significantly higher in individuals who achieved sustained virological response (SVR). Logistic regression analyses examining treatment response in all patients demonstrated significant associations between higher baseline MIP-1β levels and smaller decreases in MIP-1β early in treatment and SVR. Higher early MIP-1β levels were also significantly associated with SVR in subsets of patients with cirrhosis and individuals with genotype 3 (GT3) infection, two factors associated with decreased responsiveness to treatment.


Changes in IP-10 levels mirror HCV RNA, suggesting that IP-10 is an indicator of innate immune viral recognition. MIP-1β levels remain elevated in GT2/3 patients who achieved SVR, suggesting differential immune activation in those who respond to SOF/RBV therapy and a potential role in predicting treatment responses.

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