Aim: Serum chemokine levels and amino acid substitutions in the interferon-sensitivity determining region (ISDR) and core region have been associated with treatment outcome of pegylated interferon and ribavirin therapy in genotype 1 hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected patients. The present study was conducted to clarify the association between serum chemokines and treatment outcome in patients with chronic HCV-1 infection in a Japanese cohort.
Methods: A total of six serum chemokines were quantified before, during and after pegylated interferon and ribavirin treatment in 79 genotype 1 chronic HCV patients using a multiple bead array system. Viral ISDR and core region variants were determined by direct sequencing.
Results: The baseline serum levels of eotaxin, IP-10 and RANTES were significantly higher in chronic HCV patients than in controls. High levels of eotaxin and macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-1β before therapy and more than two mutations in the ISDR were associated with a sustained virological response, and patients with more than two mutations in the ISDR also had significantly higher MIP-1β levels. Receiver–operator curve analysis showed a 77% sensitivity and 73% specificity for predicting an SVR using MIP-1β values.
Conclusion: Serum MIP-1β levels may predict the response to HCV treatment with pegylated interferon and ribavirin and are associated with amino acid substitutions in the ISDR.