, Volume 31, Issue 6, pp 806-811

Expression of interferon-alpha receptor mRNA in the liver in chronic liver diseases associated with hepatitis C virus: Relation to effectiveness of interferon therapy

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To investigate whether interferon-alpha receptor (IFN-αRc) expression was related to the effectiveness of interferon therapy in hepatitis C virus (HCV)-associated chronic liver disease (CLD), IFN-αRc mRNA was investigated by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) in liver biopsies and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from 40 patients with HCV-associated CLD who subsequently received IFN-α therapy. IFN-αRc mRNA in the liver was detected in 18 of 20 (90%) responders to IFN and in 5 of 20 (25%) non-responders (P<0.01). In PBMCs, IFN-αRc mRNA was detected in all patients regardless of response to IFN. Increased histological hepatitis activity and liver fibrosis were significantly related to the absence of IFN-αRc mRNA. The HCV-RNA genotype showed no significant relationship to IFN-αRc mRNA expression. Our results suggest that IFN-αRc mRNA expression in the liver, but not in PBMCs, is closely associated with the effectiveness of IFN-α therapy in HCV-associated CLD.