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Intrahepatic expression of interferon alpha & interferon alpha receptor m-RNA can be used as predictors to interferon response in HCV and HCC patients

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Chronic hepatitis C Virus (HCV) is the leading cause of liver cirrhosis worldwide and in Egypt. Patients with cirrhosis secondary to chronic HCV infection are at increased risk for developing Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in which Interferon therapy is the only effective anti-viral therapy. The current study aimed to investigate the expression IFN-αand IFN-αReceptor genes in liver biopsies from patients with HCV and HCC. Correlation of their expression with the clinical, histopathological progress of the disease and the effectiveness of IFN therapy in HCV patients after a period of 6 months follow-up was done. Expression of IFN-α and IFNα-Rc m-RNA was investigated by RT-PCR using liver biopsy specimens from 30 HCV patients including 7 patients complicated with HCC. Liver biopsies were also subjected to formalin fixation for complete histopathological examination. Ninety seven percent of patients expressed Interferon Alpha m-RNA while 30% only expressed Interferon Alpha Receptor m-RNA. Responders and non-responders to Interferon therapy were divided according to their HCV RNA after six-months follow up period of interferon therapy. Responders showed significantly lower mean age, better histopathological states and higher incidence of expression of IFN Alpha Receptor mRNA. Regardless of the response to interferon, histological activity index scores and the degree of fibrosis showed a significant inverse correlation to the presence of IFNα-R m-RNA. IFNα-R mRNA expression decreases with the histological progress of the disease, suggesting that lower expression of the IFNα-Rc may be partially responsible for the unfavorable response to interferon in these patients. African Journal of Health Sciences Vol. 14 (1-2) 2007: pp. 86-96


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