[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Interferon-α is approved as one of the main therapeutic treatments for chronic hepatitis B virus infection, but only a small number of patients achieve sustained virological response. The molecular mechanisms underlying IFN-α resistance in those patients who do not respond remain elusive. Previous work in our laboratory identified the pre-activation of IFN signaling leading to increased expression of a subset of interferon stimulated genes in the pretreatment liver tissues of chronic HBV infected patients correlated with treatment non-response.
We studied the cell-type specific gene expression of interferon stimulated genes in the liver of chronic HBV infected patients and the cellular basis of the phenotype through ISG15 and MxA protein expression.
Immunohistochemical analysis was used to detect the expression of ISG15 and MxA protein in the pretreatment liver tissues of chronic HBV infected patients and the expression patterns were correlated with treatment outcomes.
In the non-responders, ISG15 and MxA protein expression in the pretreatment liver tissues was more pronounced in hepatocytes while in the responders, ISG15 and MxA protein expression was more focused in macrophages. ISG15 and MxA proteins were occasionally expressed in hepatocytes in normal livers.
There were significant differences in the cell-type specific protein expression of ISG15 and MxA in the pretreatment liver tissues of chronic HBV infected patients between treatment responders and non-responders. An easy prediction method based on immunohistochemical stains of a subset of interferon stimulated genes may be developed to predict treatment outcomes of IFN therapy in chronic HBV infected patients.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Interferon alpha (IFN-α) therapy is widely used to treat patients with chronic hepatitis B (CHB) but the sustained response rate is low, and the molecular mechanisms for the ineffectiveness of IFN-α treatments are not known. We screened differentially expressed genes between responders (Rs) and nonresponders (NRs) in patients with CHB treated with IFN-α to explore the molecular basis for treatment failure. Expression profiling was performed on percutaneous needle liver biopsy specimens taken before therapy. Gene expression levels were compared between seven patients who did not respond to therapy (NR) and six who did respond (R). Gene ontology category and KEGG pathway were analysed for differentially expressed genes, and the selected differentially expressed genes were confirmed using real-time polymerase chain reaction. We identified 3592 genes whose expression levels differed significantly between all Rs and NRs (P < 0.05); many of these genes are IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs) and immune-related genes. The ISGs were more highly expressed, while immune-related genes were inhibited in NRs before IFN-α treatment. Two ISGs (CEB1 and USP18) that are linked in an IFN inhibitory pathway are highly expressed in NRs, and a potential antiviral gene ISG20 was inhibited in NRs, suggesting a possible rationale for treatment nonresponse. Patients who do or do not respond to IFN have different liver gene expression profiles before IFN-α treatment. Preactivation of the IFN signalling pathway leading to the increased expression of inhibitory ISGs and inhibition of immune response in the pretreatment livers was associated with treatment failure.