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Serum Levels of Interleukin-15 and Serological Autoimmunity Markers in Type C Chronic Liver Disease.

Nehal M, Anwar Fahim and Wafaa Kamal El Din Mohamed.

Microbiology and Immunology Department, Internal Medicine Department Faculty of medicine, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt.


Immune mediated mechanisms are believed to play an important role in the pathogenesis of chronic hepatitis C-virus infection. Interleukin-15 (IL-15) is a novel cytokine with interleukin-2 like activity. It is a potent T-lymphocyte chemoattractant produced by a wide variety of tissue monocytes / macrophages. This study aimed at understanding the role of IL-15 in the pathogenesis of type C-chronic liver disease. Serum IL-15 levels were measured using ELISA format in 38 patients with chronic hepatitis C infection, including those with chronic hepatitis (CH), liver cirrhosis (LC) and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), in addition to 10 healthy controls. IL-15 values were high in CH, LC and HCC groups of patients compared with those of controls. HCC patients showed the highest values for IL-15 levels with high significant differences from CH patients and controls. No correlation was found between the levels of circulating IL-15 in patients with chronic hepatitis C infection and the presence of serological autoimmunity markers including anti-nuclear antibodies (ANAs), anti-smooth muscle antibodies (SMAs) and anti-mitochondria antibodies (AMAs). These findings indicate that serum IL-15 levels might closely correlate with the progression of chronic hepatitis C virus infection and may be related to the development of HCC.