Cytokines and chemokines, hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection-induced, participate in viral
control and liver damage. The complex cytokine network, operating during initial infection allows a
coordinated and effective development of innate and adaptive immune responses. “HCV interferes
with cytokines at various levels and escapes immune response by inducing a T helper (Th)2/T cytotoxic
2 cytokine profile”. A predominance of the Th1 immune response (and related cytokines) has
been evidenced in chronic hepatitis C infection and in extrahepatic manifestations. Interferon (IFN)-γ
and IFN-γ-inducible chemokine (C-X-C motif) ligand (CXCL)9, -10 and -11 recruit inflammatory infiltrates
into the liver parenchyma due to the incapability to control the infection process, resulting in
extensive liver damage and liver cirrhosis. “The most important systemic HCV-related extrahepatic
diseases — mixed cryoglobulinemia, lymphoproliferative disorders, diabetes and autoimmune thyroid
disorders — are associated with a complex dysregulation of the cytokine/chemokine network and involve
pro-inflammatory and Th1 chemokines. The therapeutical administration of cytokines such as
IFN-α may result in viral clearance during persistent infection and reverts this process” reducing circulating
CXCL10 levels. “Several studies have reported interleukin (IL)-28B polymorphisms, and
circulating CXCL10, may be prognostic markers for HCV treatment efficacy in HCV infection”.
Other studies have also shown that HCV clearance by directly acting antiviral agents therapy decreases
circulating CXCL10 levels. “Theoretically agents that selectively neutralize CXCL10 could
increase patient responsiveness to traditional IFN-based HCV therapy”, simultaneously reducing inflammatory
immune cell activation.
Keywords: Chemokines, CXCL10, cytokines, IFN inducible chemokines, HCV extrahepatic manifestations, hepatitis C
chronic infection, hepatitis C virus.
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