These authors contributed equally to this study.
Furin mRNA expression in peripheral blood correlates with chronic hepatitis B virus infection
Article first published online: 12 JUN 2012
© 2012 The Japan Society of Hepatology
Volume 43, Issue 2, pages 208–216, February 2013
How to Cite
Chen, Y., Xie, X., Gu, L., Huang, X.-H. and Peng, X.-M. (2013), Furin mRNA expression in peripheral blood correlates with chronic hepatitis B virus infection. Hepatology Research, 43: 208–216. doi: 10.1111/j.1872-034X.2012.01051.x
- Issue published online: 14 FEB 2013
- Article first published online: 12 JUN 2012
- Received 15 February 2012; revision 11 April 2012; accepted 7 May 2012.
- chronic hepatitis B;
- gene expression;
- immune tolerance;
- proprotein convertase
Aim: The mechanisms underlying development of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection are related to immune tolerance, but are as yet incompletely understood. Furin has been found to be essential for maintenance of peripheral immune tolerance mediated by regulatory T cells (Treg). Such effect of furin on chronic HBV infection was investigated in this study.
Methods: Peripheral blood from 40 individuals with self-limited HBV infection, 40 patients with asymptomatic persistent HBV infection and 40 patients with chronic hepatitis B (CHB) was collected and mRNA expression levels of furin, transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 and the Treg-function-related forkhead transcription factor FoxP3 were detected using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. CD4+CD25+FoxP3+ Treg were detected using flow cytometry.
Results: Furin mRNA expression in peripheral blood was significantly higher in patients with persistent HBV infection than in individuals with self-limited infection (P < 0.01), and was much higher in CHB patients than in those with asymptomatic persistent infection (P < 0.01). Furthermore, furin mRNA was relatively higher in patients with positive hepatitis B e antigen and higher levels of serum HBV DNA (>10 000 copies/mL). In patients with CHB, furin mRNA expression was found to correlate with TGF-β1 mRNA and FoxP3 mRNA expression using Spearman's rank correlation coefficient test. It was 5.7-times higher in CD4+CD25+ T cells than in CD4+CD25– T cells and correlated with the frequency of Treg (P < 0.05).
Conclusion: Furin mRNA expression in peripheral blood correlates with chronic HBV infection and liver damage, and seems to participate in immune inhibitory and anti-inflammatory mechanisms in HBV infection, mediated by TGF-β1 and/or Treg.