Predicting hepatitis C treatment success

Levels of interferon-stimulated genes in the liver and blood could help predict if a patient with hepatitis C will respond to conventional therapy, researchers at Kanazawa University suggest.

A combined therapy using interferons and ribavirin is often used to treat C, but around half of patients are unresponsive and suffer relapse. Previous research has shown that variations in a gene called interleukin 28B (IL28B) render a patient either sensitive to treatment or completely resistant to it. However, the mechanisms relating the IL28B gene to the treatment are not well understood.

Now, Shuichi Kaneko and colleagues at Kanazawa University have discovered that, in therapy-resistant patients, interferon-stimulated gene (ISG) expression is up-regulated in the liver but down-regulated in the blood - a significantly different pattern of ISG expression to therapy-responsive patients.

The team analyzed liver and blood samples from hepatitis C patients taken before treatment, and found that fewer immune cells reached the livers of patients with the therapy-resistant genotype. The team believe this lack of may induce higher levels of other inflammatory proteins, such as WNT5A. Higher WNT5A levels in the therapy-resistant both enhanced the expression of ISGs in the liver and increased hepatitis C viral replication. The researchers hope that further research will clarify these mechanisms with regard to treatment response.

In the meantime, measuring ISG expression patterns in blood and samples could provide a useful way of predicting a patient's response to interferon / ribavirin therapy.

More information: Honda, M., Shirasaki, T., Shimakami, T., Sakai, A., Horii, R., Arai, K., Yamashita, T., Sakai, Y., Yamashita, T., Okada, H., Murai, K., Nakamura, M., Mizukoshi, E. and Kaneko, S. (2014), "Hepatic interferon-stimulated genes are differentially regulated in the liver of chronic hepatitis C patients with different interleukin-28B genotypes." Hepatology, 59: 828–838. doi: 10.1002/hep.26788

Related Stories

New combination therapy for hepatitis C

date May 05, 2014

A new combination therapy allows chronic hepatitis C to be treated in a manner that is less aggressive yet equally efficient. This is the result of a current study, led by primary author Peter Ferenci from ...

Good news for some hard-to-treat hepatitis C patients

date Jun 16, 2009

In a multi-center trial led by a Saint Louis University researcher, investigators found that a new combination therapy of daily consensus interferon and ribavirin helps some hepatitis C patients who have not responded to ...

Recommended for you

Ebola deaths pass 11,000 mark: WHO

date 19 minutes ago

The number of deaths from the Ebola epidemic now exceeds 11,000, figures from the World Health Organization showed on Wednesday.

Scientists reverse bacterial resistance to antibiotics

date 14 hours ago

The rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is a growing problem in the United States and the world. New findings by researchers in evolutionary biology and mathematics could help doctors better address the ...

Plant toxin causes biliary atresia in animal model

date 14 hours ago

A study in this week's Science Translational Medicine is a classic example of how seemingly unlikely collaborators can come together to make surprising discoveries. An international team of gastroenterologists, pediat ...

Statins don't reduce psoriasis risk

date 15 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Statin use does not lower the risk of psoriasis, according to a study published online April 20 in the British Journal of Dermatology.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.