1Ferial El-Kalla, 2Hala Nosseir, 3Eman Labah, 3Eman Essa, 3Mohamed Zakaria, 4Enjy Ibrahim and 4Tarek Ahmad.
Departments of 1Tropical Medicine, 2Pathology, 3Microbiology and 4Internal Medicine Tanta University Hospital.
Interleukin (IL) -12 plays an essential role in host defense against infectious diseases. Serum IL-12 p70 concentration and blood mononuclear cell production (with specific interferon (IFN)-g priming) were investigated in 30 patients with chronic hepatitis C virus infection and 12 healthy individuals. HCV patients had higher serum IL-12 levels (P< 0.001) and produced higher amounts after IFN-g priming (P<0.001) than controls. Patients with severe liver necroinflammatory activity produced more IL-12 than patients with moderate or mild activity and controls (P<0.001). From these results, we conclude that while IL-12 is known to be involved in the development of cellular responses determining viral clearance from the infected cells, it may also play a role in the immuno-pathogenesis and severity of liver necrosis in chronic hepatitis C virus infection, as a proinflammatory cytokine.