Hepatitis C virus (HCV) causes hepatitis, liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma, and may also induce type II mixed cryoglobulinemia syndrome (MC), a disease characterized by clonal B-cell lymphoproliferations that can evolve into non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL). Interleukin-1 (IL-1) is a cytokine that plays an important role in initiating the cascade of events of immunoinflammatory responses through costimulation of T lymphocytes, B-cell proliferation, induction of adhesion molecules and stimulation of the production of other inflammatory cytokines. The role of IL-1 in immunoinflammatory responses is highlighted by the presence of endogenous regulators (IL-1 receptor antagonist, soluble receptors type 1 and II, human IL-1 accessory protein) that, when secreted into the blood stream may serve as endogenous regulators of IL-1 action. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether abnormalities in the blood levels of IL-1beta IL-1 receptor antagonist, soluble IL-1 receptor type II and human IL-1 accessory protein in HCV+ patients are associated with development of MC and/or NHL. Relative to healthy controls, we observed: i) an increase in the circulating levels of IL-1beta in HCV+ patients simultaneously affected by NHL; ii) increased levels of IL-1 accessory protein in patients singly infected by HCV; iii) increase of IL-1 receptor antagonist in HCV+ patients and in those affected also by NHL with or without MC; iv) a homogeneous increase of sIL-1R type II in all the subgroup of patients. These data indicate that an attempt to increased circulating levels of IL-1 inhibitors occurs at different extent in the course of HCV infection as well as in its progression to NHL and/or MC.
DI MARCO, Roberto
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