Expression of Interleukin-17 associated with disease progression and liver fibrosis with hepatitis B virus infection: IL-17 in HBV infection
- Equal contributors
1 Shandong University, School of Medicine, Jinan, China
2 Department of Liver Diseases, Jinan Infectious Disease Hospital, Shandong University School of Medicine, Jinan, China
3 Department of Pathology, Shandong University School of Medicine, Jinan, China
Diagnostic Pathology 2013, 8:40 doi:10.1186/1746-1596-8-40Published: 28 February 2013
As a proinflammatory cytokine, interleukin-17 (IL-17) contributes to the inflammation of many autoimmune diseases. We examined IL-17 levels in serum and tissues from patients with chronic hepatitis B virus infection (HBV), and especially evaluated the role of IL-17 in the pathogenesis and progression of liver fibrosis.
Materials and methods
Whole venous blood was obtained from four patient groups: chronic hepatitis B (CHB, n = 47), liver cirrhosis (LC, n = 49), primary hepatocellular carcinoma (PHC, n = 44), chronic liver failure (CLF, n = 33), and a normal control group (n = 20). HBsAg was positive in all patients. Liver biopsy samples were acquired from asymptomatic HBsAg carriers (ASC, n = 35), CHB (n = 57), and LC (n = 31) patients. We performed ELISA to measure IL-17 levels in serum samples, and used reverse RT-PCR to measure IL-17 mRNA levels in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). IL-17 protein expression was detected in liver biopsy tissues by immunohistochemistry.
Compared to normal controls, serum IL-17 protein and mRNA levels were significantly higher in the four infection groups. LC patients exhibited the highest serum IL-17 and PBMC mRNA levels. No significant differences were found between the other three groups. High levels of IL-17 were also observed in tissues from CHB and LC patients, compared to ASC. IL-17 expression was mainly located in the portal area and was positively correlated with inflammation grade and fibrosis stage.
IL-17 expression was found to be increased with increasing degrees of liver fibrosis. This suggests that IL-17 may not only induce the inflammation, but also contribute to disease progression and chronicity.
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