[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Silymarin, an extract from the seeds of the milk thistle plant Silybum marianum, has been used for centuries for the treatment of chronic liver diseases. Despite common use by patients with hepatitis C in the United States, its clinical efficacy remains uncertain. The goal of this study was to determine whether silymarin has in vitro effects on immune function that might have implications for its potential effect on hepatitis C virus (HCV)-induced liver disease.
Freshly isolated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and T cells from HCV-infected and uninfected subjects were tested in vitro for responses to nonspecific and antigenic stimulation in the presence and absence of a standardized preparation of silymarin (MK001).
Minimal MK001 toxicity on PBMC was found at concentrations between 5 and 40 microg/mL. MK001 dose dependently inhibited the proliferation and secretion of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, interferon (IFN)-gamma, and interleukin (IL)-2 by PBMC stimulated with anti-CD3. In addition, MK001 inhibited proliferation by CD4(+) T cells to HCV, Candida, and tetanus protein antigens and by HLA-A2/HCV 1406-1415-specific CD8(+) T cells to allogeneic stimulation. MK001 inhibited T-cell TNF-alpha and IFN-gamma cytokine secretion to tetanus and Candida protein antigens. Finally, MK001 inhibited nuclear factor-kappaB transcriptional activation after T-cell receptor-mediated stimulation of Jurkat T cells, consistent with its ability to inhibit Jurkat T-cell proliferation and secretion of IL-2.
Silymarin's ability to inhibit the proliferation and proinflammatory cytokine secretion of T cells, combined with its previously described antiviral effect, suggests a possible mechanism of action that could lead to clinical benefit during HCV infection.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) coinfection and low peripheral blood CD4(+) T cell counts are associated with increased hepatitis C liver disease.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV)-specific CD4(+) T cell responses were assessed using interferon (IFN)- gamma enzyme-linked immunospot assays on peripheral blood mononuclear cells and expanded liver lymphocytes from HCV-monoinfected and HCV/HIV-coinfected subjects. Cell frequencies were determined using flow cytometry.
HIV coinfection was associated with decreased CD4(+) T cell percentages in both peripheral blood (21% vs. 48%; P<.0001) and liver (15% vs. 36%; P<.0001) and with reduced responsiveness of peripheral CD4(+) T cells to HCV antigens compared with HCV monoinfection (22% vs. 45%; P=.021). However, intrahepatic HCV-specific responses were maintained in HCV/HIV coinfection, compared with HCV monoinfection (38% vs. 32%; P=.7). Notably, the presence of HCV-specific responses was not related to the frequency of liver CD4(+) T cells (P=.4). Circulating and liver CD4(+) T cell percentages were correlated (r=0.58; P<.0001). Circulating percentages were also inversely associated with liver fibrosis stage among HCV/HIV-coinfected subjects (P=.029). Neither hepatic CD4(+) T cell percentages nor HCV-specific IFN- gamma responses in the liver or periphery predicted stage.
Despite decreases in peripheral blood HCV-specific CD4(+) T cell responses and intrahepatic CD4(+) T cell percentages, intrahepatic HCV-specific CD4(+) IFN- gamma responses were preserved in HCV/HIV coinfection.
The Journal of Infectious Diseases 08/2007; 196(4):577-86. · 5.85 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Prior studies have suggested that natural killer (NK) cell function might be impaired in chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Circulating NK cell frequency and cytolytic activity were examined freshly ex vivo in HCV-infected and uninfected subjects. Surprisingly, the intrinsic cytolytic activity of peripheral blood NK-enriched cells was similar between HCV-infected and uninfected groups (P = .91). Although the percentage of circulating CD3- CD16/56+ NK cells was 30% lower in HCV-infected compared with uninfected subjects (P = .02) paralleled by a decrease of CD56(dim) cytolytic NK cells (P = .02), overall K562 cytolysis by unfractionated peripheral blood mononuclear cells was not affected (P = .29). Analysis of the relationships between NK cytolytic activity and other clinical information revealed an inverse association with liver fibrosis stage (P = .035). In conclusion, NK cell cytolytic function does not appear to be impaired in chronic hepatitis C, but higher levels of NK cell cytolysis are associated with less liver fibrosis.