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IL-10 and IL-12p40 in Egyptian Patients with HCV-Related Chronic Liver Disease

1Howayda Hassoba, 1Ola Leheta, 1Amal Sayed, 1Hanaa Fahmy, 1Amal Fathy, 2Faten Abbas, 3Fawzi Attia, 3Abdelhamid Serwah

Departments of 1Clinical Pathology, 2Physiology, 3Medicine, Suez Canal University, Ismailia Egypt.

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is the leading cause of chronic liver disease worldwide with a prevalence of ~14% in Egypt. IL-10 is a cytokine produced by Th2 cells. It down-regulates the proinflammatory response and modulates hepatic fibrogenesis. IL-12 is produced by antigen presenting cells. It promotes Th1 cell response and has many antiviral properties. Data concerning the Th-1/Th-2 balance in chronic hepatitis C (CH-C) are rather conflicting. Using ELISA, we assessed serum IL-10 and IL-12p40 levels in 66 Egyptian patients with HCV-related liver illness (CH-C, cirrhosis, and HCC), and their relationship to disease activity. Our results showed that spontaneous IL-10 was undetectable in patients with CH-C, HCC or controls. Only 5/22 (23%) of patients with cirrhosis showed detectable levels of IL-10. IL-12p40 was elevated in the patient groups compared to controls (p= 0.01, p= 0.01, p= 0.05 in CH-C, cirrhosis and HCC, respectively). The presence of IL-12p40 was associated with HCV level of viremia and serum AST. Serum ALT level was significantly associated with the level of IL-12p40. IL-12p40 was unrelated to liver histology or fibrosis. We concluded that in the Egyptian patients an augmentation of IL-12p40 and a suppression of IL-10 are both found. Whether this pattern is related to HCV genotype 4, or to the presence of schistosomiasis would need to be further investigated.