John Libbey Eurotext

European Cytokine Network


Serum cytokine levels as putative prognostic markers in the progression of chronic HCV hepatitis to cirrhosis Volume 21, numéro 4, December 2010

Centro Ricerche Oncologiche di Mercogliano (CROM) “Fiorentino Lo Vuolo”, Mercogliano (AV), Italy, Divisione di Malattie Infettive, Ospedale San Giuseppe Moscati, Avellino, Italy, Dipartimento di Biochimica e Biofisica & Centro di Ricerca Interdipartimentale di Scienze Computazionali e Biotecnologiche, Seconda Università di Napoli, Napoli, Italy

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection can present as an acute manifestation, and can lead to severe complications such as chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). It represents a global health problem because there is no vaccine currently available. Cytokines play an important role in viral clearance, infection control, inflammation, regeneration and fibrosis, and also are implicated in the pathological processes occurring in the liver during viral infection. Immunological markers of chronic HCV hepatitis progression as compared to cirrhosis and HCC would be extremely useful, particularly for distinguishing between the molecules produced during HCV-induced chronic inflammation and those secreted during cirrhosis and HCC. In this work, we evaluated the serum levels of several cytokines, chemokines and growth factors in 30 patients affected by chronic HCV (HC), 30 patients affected by HCV-related cirrhosis (LC) and 20 healthy, control subjects. We used a multiplex biometric ELISA-based immunoassay in order to identify molecules that might be useful for monitoring the progression of HCV to liver cirrhosis and, possibly, to cancer. Our results show that some pro-inflammatory molecules are significantly up-regulated, and play a role as immunological markers in the intermediate steps towards liver cancer, and that hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) is a specific marker of liver cirrhosis. Finally, these data will be used to define a cytokinome profile, which might prove useful for studies involving the transition of chronic inflammation to neoplastic processes.