The balance between T helper (h)1 and Th2 responsiveness seems to represent a key event in the evolution of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. In particular, Th1 cytokines [interleukin (IL-2) and interferon (IFN-γ)] have been demonstrated to mediate the antiviral immune response. Serum levels of Th1 cytokines (IL-2 and IFN-γ) as well as of Th2 products (IL-4 and IL-10) were determined in a group of HCV-positive patients before and after treatment with IFN-α and Ribavirin (RIB). Results indicate that responder patients exhibited increased levels of IFN-γ and IL-10, while this enhancement was not observed in non-responder patients. In this respect, the major effect exerted by the combined therapy with IFN-α / RIB could be represented by the attainment of a re-equilibrium between inflammatory (Th1) and antiinflammatory (Th2) mechanisms. In this framework, according to current literature, novel therapeutical approaches to treat HCV infection are represented by administration of recombinant IL-2 and IL-10.
Keywords: ifn, ribavirin, responsiveness, gamma, interleukin, recombinant interleukin
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