Scientific publications

Expression of interferon-alpha subtypes in peripheral mononuclear cells from patients with chronic hepatitis C: a role for interferon-alpha5

Mar 1, 2001 | Magazine: Journal of Viral Hepatitis

Larrea E, Alberdi A, Castelruiz Y, Boya P, Civeira MP, Prieto J.
Department of Medicine and Liver Unit, Clínica Universitaria, University of Navarra, 31008 Pamplona, Spain.

Interferon (IFN)-alpha is a family of antiviral proteins encoded by different genes. The biological significance of the existence of various IFN-alpha subtypes is not clear. We have investigated the interferon system in chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, a disease that responds to interferon-alpha2 therapy in only a limited proportion of cases.

We analysed the expression of interferon regulatory factor (IRF)-1, IRF-2, and IFN-alpha subtypes in nonstimulated and Sendai virus-stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from HCV infected patients and healthy controls. We observed that the IRF-1 mRNA and IRF-1/IRF-2 ratios were increased in PBMC from hepatitis C patients with respect to normal subjects. Sendai virus stimulation of PBMC led to a significant increase in the levels of IRF-1, IRF-2 and IFN-alpha mRNAs and in the production of IFN-alpha protein with respect to basal values in healthy controls as well as in patients with HCV infection. In addition, we found that while natural HCV infection induced increased IFN-alpha5 expression in PBMC, in vitro infection of these cells with Sendai virus caused a raise in the expression of IFN-alpha8 in both patients and normal controls.

In summary, our results indicate that virus-induced activation of the IFN system in human PBMC is associated with selective expression of individual IFN-alpha subtypes, IFN-alpha5 being the specific subtype induced in PBMC from patients with chronic HCV infection.

CITATION  J Viral Hepat. 2001 Mar;8(2):103-10