The pattern of antiviral protein expression induced by interferon λ1 in peripheral blood mononuclear cells of patients with chronic hepatitis C virus infection

  • Hamzeh Choobin
  • Taravat Bamdad
  • Mehdi ShekarabiEmail author
Original Article


Interferon lambda was discovered in recent years to be an antiviral agent, and research on different aspects of this antiviral factor in viral infection and investigations of its effectiveness are also progressing. The immunological effects of interferon lambda on different cell populations is not precisely known, which may be due to its use of a heterodimeric receptor consisting of IL-10R2 and IFN-λR1, which are not broadly expressed in all types of cells. In the present study, signaling by interferon lambda and its effect on the expression of hepatitis C virus (HCV) proteins were measured, and the expression pattern of some antiviral proteins and IL-10 levels were investigated in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). PBMCs were isolated from 50 patients with chronic genotype 1a HCV infection and 10 healthy individuals as controls. The PBMCs were treated with various doses of interferon lambda at different times of cultivation. Real-time PCR was used for relative quantification of Mxa, PKR, OAS, ISG15 and HCV core mRNAs. Expression of the NS5A protein was measured by flow cytometry, and IL-10 production was assessed by ELISA. A significant increase in the expression of mRNA encoding antiviral proteins and a decrease in the expression of mRNAs encoding the HCV core protein were observed when cells were treated with interferon lambda in an intermittent manner. The expression of HCV NS5A protein and interleukin 10 levels were also lower than in the control group. It was shown that the maximum antiviral effect of interferon lambda in PBMCs is dependent on the dose and treatment time.



This work was supported by a grant (Med-52/4915) from the Research Deputy of Tarbiat Modares University, Faculty of Medical Sciences, as a part of a PhD thesis, and a research grant from the Immunology Research Center, Institute of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Iran University of Medical Sciences (95-02-138-28256).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards (94/144).

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hamzeh Choobin
    • 1
  • Taravat Bamdad
    • 1
  • Mehdi Shekarabi
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Virology, Faculty of Medical SciencesTarbiat Modares UniversityTehranIran
  2. 2.Immunology Research Center, Institute of Immunology and Infectious DiseasesIran University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  3. 3.Department of Immunology, Faculty of MedicineIran University of Medical SciencesTehranIran

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