Asian Journal of Transfusion Science
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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 24-28

Distinct immunoregulatory cytokine pattern in Egyptian patients with occult Hepatitis C infection and unexplained persistently elevated liver transaminases

1 Department of Internal Medicine, Mansoura University, Mansoura, Egypt
2 Department of Tropical Medicine, Mansoura University, Mansoura, Egypt
3 Department of Pathology, Mansoura University, Mansoura, Egypt
4 Department of Clinical Pathology, Mansoura University, Mansoura, Egypt
5 Department of Clinical Microbiology, Mansoura University, Mansoura, Egypt

Correspondence Address:
Yahia Z Gad
Department of Internal Medicine, Hepatology and Gastroenterology Unit, Mansoura Specialized Medical Hospital, Mansoura University, Mansoura
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0973-6247.95046

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Background/Aim: The immunopathogenesis of occult Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a matter of great controversy and has been suggested to involve a complex balance between cytokines with pro- and anti-inflammatory activity. This work aimed at studying the serum Th1 and Th2 cytokine production in patients with occult HCV infection. Materials and Methods: Serum levels of cytokines of Th1 (interleukin [IL]-2, INF-γ) and Th2 (IL-4) were measured in 27 patients with occult HCV infection and 28 patients with chronic hepatitis C infection. Results: The levels of IL-2 and interferon-γ were highly significantly increased in patients with chronic HCV infection (P<0.001). IL-4 was highly significantly increased in occult HCV infection (P<0.001). Significant increases were noted in chronic HCV infection regarding bilirubin (P<0.001), ALT (P = 0.009), AST (P = 0.013), AFP (P<0.001), while serum albumin was significantly higher in occult HCV infection (P<0.001). Necroinflammation (P<0.001), fibrosis (P<0.001), and cirrhosis (P = 0.03) were significantly increased in chronic HCV infection. Conclusion: Our data revealed a high prevalence of occult HCV infection (25%) in patients with unexplained persistently abnormal liver function test results. Those patients exhibited a distinct immunoregulatory cytokine pattern, favoring viral persistence and explaining the less aggressive course of this disease entity than chronic HCV infection.

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2006 - Asian Journal of Transfusion Science | Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow
Online since 10th November, 2006