The cytokine pattern on viral antigen recognition is believed to exert a profound influence on the resolution of viral infections and viral clearance. This study was initiated to investigate whether a cytokine imbalance oriented toward Th2 type response plays a role in chronic hepatitis B. Cytokine profiles of peripheral blood mononuclear cells associated with chronic hepatitis B were analysed by RT-PCR. Upon HBsAg stimulation, expression of IFN-gamma, IL-2, IL-4, and IL-10 was detected in 41%, 8%, 41%, and 50% of the patients, respectively. Among these cytokines, the expression of IFN-gamma was associated with high levels of serum AST/ALT. However, we could not prove that Th2 type cytokines had a protective effect on hepatocytes. Upon HBxAg stimulation, there was no recognizable association of cytokine patterns with AST/ALT levels. In conclusion, production of a Th1 cytokine, IFN-gamma, by HBsAg-reactive cells was associated with hepatocyte damage in chronic hepatitis B, while no counteracting effect of Th2 cytokines produced by those cells was observed
To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.