Immunological and virological predictors of outcome during interferon-α therapy of chronic hepatitis C

Hidetsugu Saito, H. Ebinuma, I. Satoh, S. Miyaguchi, S. Tada, N. Iwabuchi, N. Kumagai, K. Tsuchimoto, T. Morizane, H. Ishii

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Results from a multicentre, clinical trial of interferon-α2a (IFN-α2a) for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C are reported. Serum hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA levels were monitored as follows: before, and 2 days after, the first administration of IFN-α2a; during and at the end of treatment; and 6 months after completion of therapy. Peripheral blood lymphocyte subpopulations were measured, by two-colour flow cytometry, before and 3 h after the first intramuscular (i.m.) administration of 9 mega units (MU) of IFN-α2a. Virological responders had a significantly lower pretreatment level of CD11+ CD8- lymphocytes. Biochemical responders had significantly lower pretreatment levels of CD11- CD8+, human leucocyte antigen (HLA) DR- CD4- and HLA DR- CD8+ populations, and a higher pretreatment HLA DR+ CD4- population. These pretreatment differences disappeared 3 h after the first i.m. administration of IFN-α2a. CD11- CD8+ and HLA DR+ CD8+ cell populations became significantly lower in virological responders 3 h after the first i.m. administration of IFN-α2a, HLA DR+ CD4+ cell populations were increased less in biochemical responders. Thus, T-lymphocyte subpopulations were different between responders and non-responders to IFN therapy and IFN-modulated host immunity. Multivariate analysis showed that the pretreatment CD11+ CD8- cell population was an independent predictive factor of response to therapy. On the other hand, patients whose serum HCV RNA cleared or decreased within the first 2 days of IFN-α2a therapy were more likely to achieve a virological response. This predictive factor, however, was not an independent factor by multivariate analysis. These results suggest that host immunity is an important factor in response to IFN therapy, and HCV clearance within the first 2 days is a good predictive factor of response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-74
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Viral Hepatitis
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2000 Mar 21


  • Chronic hepatitis C
  • HCV RNA negativity at 2 days
  • Interferon
  • Lymphocyte subpopulation
  • Response to therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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