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.