Interferon (IFN)-α receptor mRNA expression in liver of patients with chronic hepatitis C has been shown to be a response to IFN-α therapy. The objective of the present study was to determine whether the expression of mRNA for subunit 1 of the IFN-receptor (IFNAR1) in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) is associated with the response to IFN-α in patients with chronic hepatitis C. Thirty patients with positive anti-HCV and HCV-RNA, and abnormal levels of alanine aminotransferase in serum were selected and treated with IFN-α2b for one year. Those with HBV or HIV infection, or using alcohol were not included. Thirteen discontinued the treatment and were not evaluated. The IFN-α response was monitored on the basis of alanine aminotransferase level and positivity for HCV-RNA in serum. IFNAR1-mRNA expression in PBMC was measured by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction before and during the first three months of therapy. The results are reported as IFNAR1-mRNA/β-actin-mRNA ratio (mean ± SD). Before treatment, responder patients had significantly higher IFNAR1-mRNA expression in PBMC (0.67 ± 0.15; N = 5; P < 0.05) compared to non-responders (0.35 ± 0.17; N = 12) and controls (0.30 ± 0.16; N = 9). Moreover, IFNAR1-mRNA levels were significantly reduced after 3 months of treatment in responders, whereas there were no differences in IFNAR1 expression in non-responders during IFN-α therapy. Basal IFNAR1-mRNA expression was not correlated with the serum level of alanine and aspartate aminotransferases or the presence of cirrhosis. The present results suggest that IFNAR1-mRNA expression in PBMC is associated with IFN-α response to hepatitis C and may be useful for monitoring therapy in patients with chronic hepatitis C.
Massirer, K. B., Hirata, M. H., Silva, A. E. B., Ferraz, M. L. G., Nguyen, N. Y., & Hirata, R. D. C. (2004). Interferon-α receptor 1 mRNA expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells is associated with response to interferon-α therapy of patients with chronic hepatitis C. Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research, 37(5), 643–647. https://doi.org/10.1590/S0100-879X2004000500003
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