[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.
Preview · Article · Aug 2007 · The Journal of Infectious Diseases
[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.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hepatitis C virus (HCV), a major cause of liver disease worldwide, is frequently resistant to the antiviral alpha interferon (IFN). The HCV nonstructural 5A (NS5A) protein has been implicated in HCV antiviral resistance in many studies. NS5A antagonizes the IFN antiviral response in vitro, and one mechanism is via inhibition of a key IFN-induced enzyme, the double-stranded-RNA-activated protein kinase (PKR). In the present study we determined if NS5A uses other strategies to subvert the IFN system. Expression of full-length NS5A proteins from patients who exhibited a complete response (FL-NS5A-CR) or were nonresponsive (FL-NS5A-NR) to IFN therapy in HeLa cells had no effect on IFN induction of IFN-stimulated gene factor 3 (ISGF-3). Expression of mutant NS5A proteins lacking 110 (NS5A-DeltaN110), 222 (NS5A-DeltaN222), and 334 amino-terminal amino acids and mutants lacking 117 and 230 carboxy-terminal amino acids also had no effect on ISGF-3 induction by IFN. Expression of FL-NS5A-CR and FL-NS5A-NR did not affect IFN-induced STAT-1 tyrosine phosphorylation or upregulation of PKR and major histocompatibility complex class I antigens. However, NS5A expression in human cells induced interleukin 8 (IL-8) mRNA and protein, and this effect correlated with inhibition of the antiviral effects of IFN in an in vitro bioassay. NS5A induced transcription of a reporter gene driven by the IL-8 promoter, and the first 133 bp of the IL-8 promoter made up the minimal domain required for NS5A transactivation. NS5A-DeltaN110 and NS5A-DeltaN222 stimulated the IL-8 promoter to higher levels than did the full-length NS5A protein, and this correlated with increased nuclear localization of the proteins. Additional mutagenesis of the IL-8 promoter suggested that NF-kappaB and AP-1 were important in NS5A-DeltaN222 transactivation in the presence of tumor necrosis factor alpha and that NF-IL-6 was inhibitory to this process. This study suggests that NS5A inhibits the antiviral actions of IFN by at least two mechanisms and provides the first evidence for a biological effect of the transcriptional activity of the NS5A protein. During HCV infection, viral proteins may induce chemokines that contribute to HCV antiviral resistance and pathogenesis.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2001 · Journal of Virology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The hepatitis C virus (HCV) nonstructural 5A (NS5A) protein has been implicated in the inherent resistance of HCV to interferon (IFN) antiviral therapy in clinical studies. Biochemical studies have demonstrated that NS5A interacts in vitro with and inhibits the IFN-induced, RNA-dependent protein kinase, PKR, and that NS5A interacts with at least one other cellular kinase. The present study describes the establishment and characterization of various stable NS5A-expressing human cell lines, and the development of a cell culture-based assay for determining the inherent IFN resistance of clinical NS5A isolates. Human epithelioid (Hela) and osteosarcoma (U2-OS) cell lines were generated that express NS5A under tight regulation by the tetracycline-dependent promoter. Maximal expression of NS5A occurred at 48 hours following the removal of tetracycline from the culture medium. The half-life of NS5A in these cell lines was between 4 to 6 hours. NS5A protein expression was localized cytoplasmically, with a staining pattern consistent with the location of the Golgi apparatus and endoplasmic reticulum. In the majority of cell lines, no obvious phenotypic changes were observed. However, three genotype 1b NS5A-expressing osteosarcoma cell lines exhibited cytopathic effect and severely reduced proliferation as a result of high-level NS5A expression. Full-length NS5A protein isolated from a genotype 1b IFN-nonresponsive patient (NS5A-1b) was capable of rescuing encephalomyocardititis virus replication during IFN challenge up to 40-fold, whereas a full-length NS5A-1a and an interferon sensitivity determining region (ISDR) deletion mutant (NS5A-1a-triangle upISDR) isolated from a genotype 1a IFN-nonresponsive patient showed no rescue activity. The NS5A-1b and NS5A-1a proteins also rescued vesicular stomatitis virus replication during IFN treatment by two- to threefold. These data cummulatively suggest that NS5A expression alone can render cells partially resistant to the effects of IFN against IFN-sensitive viruses, and that in some systems, these effects may be independent of the putative ISDR. A scenario is discussed in which the NS5A protein may employ multiple strategies contributing to IFN resistance during HCV infection.