Serum chemokine levels are associated with the outcome of pegylated interferon and ribavirin therapy in patients with chronic hepatitis C


  • The Nagano Interferon Treatment Research Group includes Drs Susumu Morita, Atsushi Kamijo, Michiharu Komatsu, Naoki Tanaka (Shinshu University Hospital), Dr Chiharu Miyabayashi (Chikuma Central Hospital, Chikuma) and Dr Yuriko Koike (Kawanakajima Clinic, Nagano).

Dr Takeji Umemura, Department of Medicine, Shinshu University School of Medicine, 3-1-1 Asahi, Matsumoto 390-8621, Japan. Email:


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.