Interferon-alpha receptor 1 mRNA expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells is associated with response to interferon-alpha therapy of patients with chronic hepatitis C

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Massirer, Katlin Brauer
Hirata, Mario Hiroyuki
Silva, Antonio Eduardo Benedito [UNIFESP]
Ferraz, Maria Lucia Cardoso Gomes [UNIFESP]
Nguyen, Nga Yen
Hirata, Rosario Dominguez Crespo
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Interferon (IFN)-alpha receptor mRNA expression in liver of patients with chronic hepatitis C has been shown to be a response to IFN-alpha therapy. The objective of the present study was to determine whether the expression of mRNA for subunit 1 of the IFN-alpha receptor (IFNAR1) in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) is associated with the response to IFN-alpha 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-alpha2b 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-alpha 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/ß-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-alpha 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-alpha response to hepatitis C and may be useful for monitoring therapy in patients with chronic hepatitis C.
Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research. Associação Brasileira de Divulgação Científica, v. 37, n. 5, p. 643-647, 2004.