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Special Issue "Hepatitis Virus Infection and Research"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Pathology, Diagnostics, and Therapeutics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2017).

Special Issue Editor

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Welcome to this Special Issue, “Hepatitis Virus Infection and Research”, of the International Journal of Molecular Sciences. Infections of hepatitis A virus (HAV), HBV, HCV, HDV, and HEV are still a serious issue worldwide, although effective vaccines for HAV and HBV have been developed. HAV and HBV are major causes of acute hepatitis, including acute hepatic failure (ALF). The mechanism of hepatocarcinogenesis in HBV and HCV infections is still unclear. Effective interferon-free treatment against HCV is now available, but it has led to several problems, such as the occurrence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) after sustained virological response, non-response to direct-acting antivirals, and treatment of decompensated cirrhosis. HEV causes ALF, but the root of HEV infection is still unclear in certain cases and chronic HEV infection has been reported in transplant patients. Thus, taken together, it is clear that a lot of issues still exist in clinical practice and basic research areas. This Special Issue will present the latest findings related to viral hepatitis, the association with HCC, and so on. Original research and review articles on all topics in this area are invited. It is my greatest pleasure to invite research scientists and clinicians from all relevant fields to submit their articles for this Special Issue. Please accept my special thanks for choosing to publish in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences. I am looking forward to your submissions for this highly important Special Issue.

Dr. Tatsuo Kanda
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • acute hepatitis
  • HAV
  • HBV
  • HCC
  • HCV
  • HEV
  • liver fibrosis

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Published Papers (14 papers)

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Research

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Article
Lack of Association between Hepatitis C Virus core Gene Variation 70/91aa and Insulin Resistance
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(7), 1444; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms18071444 - 21 Jul 2017
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1818
Abstract
The role of hepatitis C virus (HCV) in insulin resistance (IR) is not fully understood. The aim of this study was to determine the impact of amino acid (aa) substitutions in the core region of HCV according to IR and to identify clinical [...] Read more.
The role of hepatitis C virus (HCV) in insulin resistance (IR) is not fully understood. The aim of this study was to determine the impact of amino acid (aa) substitutions in the core region of HCV according to IR and to identify clinical and laboratory associations. Ninety-two treatment-naive HCV patients were recruited to determine laboratory data and blood cell count. IR was determined using Homeostasis Model Assessment (HOMA) index where IR was defined as HOMA ≥2. HCV RNA load and genotype were determined by Abbott Real time HCV. HCV core region was determined by direct nucleotide sequencing. Bivariate analysis was conducted using HOMA IR ≥2 as a dependent factor. IR prevalence was 43.5% (n = 40), vitamin D sufficiency was found in 76.1% (n = 70) and 72.8% (n = 67) had advanced liver fibrosis. In the bivariate analyses, elevated values of γGT (p = 0.024) and fibrosis staging (p = 0.004) were associated with IR, but IR was not related to core mutations. The presence of glutamine in position 70 was associated with low vitamin D concentration (p = 0.005). In the multivariate analysis, no variable was independently associated with HOMA-IR. In conclusion, lack of association between IR and HCV core mutations in positions 70 and 91 suggests that genetic variability of this region has little impact on IR. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hepatitis Virus Infection and Research)
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Article
Serum Biomarkers for Discrimination between Hepatitis C-Related Arthropathy and Early Rheumatoid Arthritis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(6), 1304; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms18061304 - 19 Jun 2017
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1820
Abstract
In the present study, we aimed to estimate the concentrations of cytokines (interleukin 6, IL-6, tumor necrosis factor-α, TNF-α) and auto-antibodies (rheumatoid factor IgM isotype, IgM-RF, antinuclear auto-antibodies, ANA, anti–cyclic citrullinated peptide antibodies IgG isotype, IgG anti-CCP3.1, anti-cardiolipin IgG isotype, IgG anti-aCL) in [...] Read more.
In the present study, we aimed to estimate the concentrations of cytokines (interleukin 6, IL-6, tumor necrosis factor-α, TNF-α) and auto-antibodies (rheumatoid factor IgM isotype, IgM-RF, antinuclear auto-antibodies, ANA, anti–cyclic citrullinated peptide antibodies IgG isotype, IgG anti-CCP3.1, anti-cardiolipin IgG isotype, IgG anti-aCL) in serum of patients with eRA (early rheumatoid arthritis) and HCVrA (hepatitis C virus-related arthropathy) and to assess the utility of IL-6, TNF-α together with IgG anti-CCP and IgM-RF in distinguishing between patients with true eRA and HCVrA, in the idea of using them as differential immunomarkers. Serum samples were collected from 54 patients (30 diagnosed with eRA-subgroup 1 and 24 with HCVrA-subgroup 2) and from 28 healthy control persons. For the evaluation of serum concentrations of studied cytokines and auto-antibodies, we used immunoenzimatique techniques. The serum concentrations of both proinflammatory cytokines were statistically significantly higher in patients of subgroup 1 and subgroup 2, compared to the control group (p < 0.0001). Our study showed statistically significant differences of the mean concentrations only for ANA and IgG anti-CCP between subgroup 1 and subgroup 2. We also observed that IL-6 and TNF-α better correlated with auto-antibodies in subgroup 1 than in subgroup 2. In both subgroups of patients, ROC curves indicated that IL-6 and TNF-α have a higher diagnostic utility as markers of disease. In conclusion, we can say that, due to high sensitivity for diagnostic accuracy, determination of serum concentrations of IL-6 and TNF-α, possibly in combination with auto-antibodies, could be useful in the diagnosis and distinguishing between patients with true eRA and HCV patients with articular manifestation and may prove useful in the monitoring of the disease course. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hepatitis Virus Infection and Research)
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Article
Long-Term Follow-Up of Resistance-Associated Substitutions in Hepatitis C Virus in Patients in Which Direct Acting Antiviral-Based Therapy Failed
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(5), 962; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms18050962 - 03 May 2017
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2310
Abstract
We evaluated the transition of dominant resistance-associated substitutions (RASs) in hepatitis C virus during long-term follow-up after the failure of DAAs (direct acting antivirals)-based therapy. RASs in non-structure (NS)3/4A, NS5A, NS5B, and deletions in NS5A from 20 patients who failed simeprevir/pegylated-interferon/ribavirin (SMV/PEG-IFN/RBV) and [...] Read more.
We evaluated the transition of dominant resistance-associated substitutions (RASs) in hepatitis C virus during long-term follow-up after the failure of DAAs (direct acting antivirals)-based therapy. RASs in non-structure (NS)3/4A, NS5A, NS5B, and deletions in NS5A from 20 patients who failed simeprevir/pegylated-interferon/ribavirin (SMV/PEG-IFN/RBV) and 25 patients who failed daclatasvir/asunaprevir (DCV/ASV) treatment were examined by direct sequencing. With respect to SMV/PEG-IFN/RBV treatment, RAS was detected at D168 in NS3/4A but not detected in NS5A and NS5B at treatment failure in 16 of 20 patients. During the median follow-up period of 64 weeks, the RAS at D168 became less dominant in 9 of 16 patients. Among 25 DCV/ASV failures, RASs at D168, L31, and Y93 were found in 57.1%, 72.2%, and 76.9%, respectively. NS5A deletions were detected in 3 of 10 patients treated previously with SMV/PEG-IFN/RBV. The number of RASs in the breakthrough patients exceeded that in relapsers (mean 3.9 vs. 2.7, p < 0.05). RAS at D168 in NS3/4A became less dominant in 6 of 15 patients within 80 weeks. Y93H emerged at the time of relapse, then decreased gradually by 99% at 130 weeks post-treatment. Emerged RASs were associated with the clinical course of treatment and could not be detected during longer follow-up. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hepatitis Virus Infection and Research)
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Article
Real-World Experiences with the Combination Treatment of Ledipasvir plus Sofosbuvir for 12 Weeks in HCV Genotype 1-Infected Japanese Patients: Achievement of a Sustained Virological Response in Previous Users of Peginterferon plus Ribavirin with HCV NS3/4A Inhibitors
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(5), 906; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms18050906 - 25 Apr 2017
Cited by 23 | Viewed by 2478
Abstract
The aim of this study was to characterize the treatment response and serious adverse events of ledipasvir plus sofosbuvir therapies in Japanese patients infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1 (GT1). This retrospective study analyzed 240 Japanese HCV GT1 patients treated for [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to characterize the treatment response and serious adverse events of ledipasvir plus sofosbuvir therapies in Japanese patients infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1 (GT1). This retrospective study analyzed 240 Japanese HCV GT1 patients treated for 12 weeks with 90 mg of ledipasvir plus 400 mg of sofosbuvir daily. Sustained virological response at 12 weeks post-treatment (SVR12) was achieved in 236 of 240 (98.3%) patients. Among treatment-naïve patients, SVR12 was achieved in 136 of 138 (98.6%) patients, and among treatment-experienced patients, SVR12 was achieved in 100 of 102 (98.0%) patients. In patients previously treated with peginterferon plus ribavirin with various HCV NS3/4A inhibitors, 100% SVR rates (25/25) were achieved. Two relapsers had HCV NS5A resistance-associated variants (RAVs), but no HCV NS5B-S282 was observed after they relapsed. We experienced two patients with cardiac events during treatment. In conclusion, combination of ledipasvir plus sofosbuvir for 12 weeks is a potential therapy for HCV GT1 patients. Caution is needed for HCV NS5A RAVs, which were selected by HCV NS5A inhibitors and cardiac adverse events. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hepatitis Virus Infection and Research)
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Article
Discrepancy between Hepatitis C Virus Genotypes and NS4-Based Serotypes: Association with Their Subgenomic Sequences
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(1), 172; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms18010172 - 17 Jan 2017
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2028
Abstract
Determination of hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotypes plays an important role in the direct-acting agent era. Discrepancies between HCV genotyping and serotyping assays are occasionally observed. Eighteen samples with discrepant results between genotyping and serotyping methods were analyzed. HCV serotyping and genotyping were [...] Read more.
Determination of hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotypes plays an important role in the direct-acting agent era. Discrepancies between HCV genotyping and serotyping assays are occasionally observed. Eighteen samples with discrepant results between genotyping and serotyping methods were analyzed. HCV serotyping and genotyping were based on the HCV nonstructural 4 (NS4) region and 5′-untranslated region (5′-UTR), respectively. HCV core and NS4 regions were chosen to be sequenced and were compared with the genotyping and serotyping results. Deep sequencing was also performed for the corresponding HCV NS4 regions. Seventeen out of 18 discrepant samples could be sequenced by the Sanger method. Both HCV core and NS4 sequences were concordant with that of genotyping in the 5′-UTR in all 17 samples. In cloning analysis of the HCV NS4 region, there were several amino acid variations, but each sequence was much closer to the peptide with the same genotype. Deep sequencing revealed that minor clones with different subgenotypes existed in two of the 17 samples. Genotyping by genome amplification showed high consistency, while several false reactions were detected by serotyping. The deep sequencing method also provides accurate genotyping results and may be useful for analyzing discrepant cases. HCV genotyping should be correctly determined before antiviral treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hepatitis Virus Infection and Research)
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Article
Prediction of Hepatocellular Carcinoma Development after Hepatitis C Virus Eradication Using Serum Wisteria floribunda Agglutinin-Positive Mac-2-Binding Protein
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(12), 2143; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms17122143 - 20 Dec 2016
Cited by 24 | Viewed by 2578
Abstract
We aimed to clarify the association between a novel serum fibrosis marker, Wisteria floribunda agglutinin-positive Mac-2-binding protein (WFA+-M2BP), and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) development in 355 patients with chronic hepatitis C who achieved sustained virologic response (SVR) through interferon-based antiviral therapy. Pretreatment [...] Read more.
We aimed to clarify the association between a novel serum fibrosis marker, Wisteria floribunda agglutinin-positive Mac-2-binding protein (WFA+-M2BP), and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) development in 355 patients with chronic hepatitis C who achieved sustained virologic response (SVR) through interferon-based antiviral therapy. Pretreatment serum WFA+-M2BP levels were quantified and the hazard ratios (HRs) for HCC development were retrospectively analyzed by Cox proportional hazard analysis. During the median follow-up time of 2.9 years, 12 patients developed HCC. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that high serum WFA+-M2BP (≥2.80 cut off index (COI), HR = 15.20, p = 0.013) and high fibrosis-4 (FIB-4) index (≥3.7, HR = 5.62, p = 0.034) were independent risk factors for HCC development. The three- and five-year cumulative incidence of HCC in patients with low WFA+-M2BP were 0.4% and 0.4%, respectively, whereas those of patients with high WFA+-M2BP were 7.7% and 17.6%, respectively (p < 0.001). In addition, combination of serum WFA+-M2BP and FIB-4 indices successfully stratified the risk of HCC: the five-year cumulative incidences of HCC were 26.9%, 6.8%, and 0.0% in patients with both, either, and none of these risk factors, respectively (p < 0.001). In conclusion, pretreatment serum WFA+-M2BP level is a useful predictor for HCC development after achieving SVR. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hepatitis Virus Infection and Research)
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Article
The Relationship between Serum Bilirubin and Elevated Fibrotic Indices among HBV Carriers: A Cross-Sectional Study of a Chinese Population
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(12), 2057; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms17122057 - 09 Dec 2016
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2465
Abstract
The study probed the association between bilirubin and hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and progression. A cross-sectional analysis of 28,500 middle aged and elderly Chinese participants was performed to analyze the differences of bilirubin in terms of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) positive [...] Read more.
The study probed the association between bilirubin and hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and progression. A cross-sectional analysis of 28,500 middle aged and elderly Chinese participants was performed to analyze the differences of bilirubin in terms of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) positive or negative and the correlation between bilirubin and severity of hepatic fibrosis estimated by non-invasive indices. Bilirubin was significantly higher in the HBsAg (+) group than the HBsAg (−) group. Higher bilirubin levels were consistently associated with elevated liver fibrosis indices among HBsAg carriers. Compared with quartile 1 of total bilirubin (TBil), the multivariable-adjusted ORs (95% CIs) for elevated fibrosis indices of quartile 4 were 2.24 (95% CIs, 1.57–3.21) estimated by fibrosis 4 score (FIB-4) and 2.22 (95% CIs, 1.60–3.08) estimated by aspartate transaminase to platelet ratio index (APRI). In addition, direct bilirubin (DBil) had a stronger association with elevated liver fibrosis indices than did indirect bilirubin (IBil). Furthermore, the relationship between DBil and elevated fibrosis indices was more robust among participants who were female, overweight or had central fat distribution. These findings suggested that bilirubin levels, especially DBil, were independently associated with an increased risk of increased fibrosis indices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hepatitis Virus Infection and Research)
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Communication
Prokaryotic Expression, Purification and Immunogenicity in Rabbits of the Small Antigen of Hepatitis Delta Virus
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(10), 1721; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms17101721 - 20 Oct 2016
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2591
Abstract
Hepatitis delta virus (HDV) is a viroid-like blood-borne human pathogen that accompanies hepatitis B virus infection in 5% patients. HDV has been studied for four decades; however, the knowledge on its life-cycle and pathogenesis is still sparse. The studies are hampered by the [...] Read more.
Hepatitis delta virus (HDV) is a viroid-like blood-borne human pathogen that accompanies hepatitis B virus infection in 5% patients. HDV has been studied for four decades; however, the knowledge on its life-cycle and pathogenesis is still sparse. The studies are hampered by the absence of the commercially-available HDV-specific antibodies. Here, we describe a set of reproducible methods for the expression in E. coli of His-tagged small antigen of HDV (S-HDAg), its purification, and production of polyclonal anti-S-HDAg antibodies in rabbits. S-HDAg was cloned into a commercial vector guiding expression of the recombinant proteins with the C-terminal His-tag. We optimized S-HDAg protein purification procedure circumventing a low affinity of the His-tagged S-HDAg to the Ni-nitrilotriacetyl agarose (Ni-NTA-agarose) resin. Optimization allowed us to obtain S-HDAg with >90% purity. S-HDAg was used to immunize Shinchilla grey rabbits which received 80 μg of S-HDAg in two subcutaneous primes in the complete, followed by four 40 μg boosts in incomplete Freunds adjuvant. Rabbits were bled two weeks post each boost. Antibody titers determined by indirect ELISA exceeded 107. Anti-S-HDAg antibodies detected the antigen on Western blots in the amounts of up-to 100 pg. They were also successfully used to characterize the expression of S-HDAg in the eukaryotic cells by immunofluorescent staining/confocal microscopy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hepatitis Virus Infection and Research)
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Article
Potential Susceptibility Mutations in C Gene for Hepatitis B-Related Hepatocellular Carcinoma Identified by a Two-Stage Study in Qidong, China
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(10), 1708; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms17101708 - 11 Oct 2016
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1891
Abstract
A two stage study was conducted to explore new potential mutations in the full genome of hepatitis B virus (HBV) on the progression of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in Qidong, China. In stage 1, full genomes of HBV were compared between 30 HCC cases [...] Read more.
A two stage study was conducted to explore new potential mutations in the full genome of hepatitis B virus (HBV) on the progression of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in Qidong, China. In stage 1, full genomes of HBV were compared between 30 HCC cases and 30 controls. In stage 2, an independent case–control study including 100 HCC cases and 100 controls was enrolled to verify the relationship between hot-spot mutations and HCC development. Furthermore, a longitudinal study was conducted on 11 HCC cases with serial serum samples available before HCC diagnosis. A total of 10 mutations (including pre-S2 start codon mutation and pre-S deletion in pre-S gene, G1613A, C1653T, A1762T, and G1764A mutations in X gene, A2159G, A2189Y, G2203W, and C2288R mutations in C gene) showed an increased risk of HCC. In the validation study, pre-S deletion, C1653T, A1762T/G1764A, A2159G, A2189Y, G2203W, and C2288R mutations were associated with increased HCC risk in univariate analysis. Multivariate analysis indicated that pre-S deletion, A1762T/G1764A, A2159G, and A2189Y mutations were independently related with HCC development. Moreover, a significant biological gradient of HCC risk by number of mutations in the C gene was observed. Longitudinal observation demonstrated a gradual combination of the above mutations accumulated during the progression of HCC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hepatitis Virus Infection and Research)
Article
Ultra-Deep Sequencing Characterization of HCV Samples with Equivocal Typing Results Determined with a Commercial Assay
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(10), 1679; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms17101679 - 07 Oct 2016
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2161
Abstract
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is classified into seven phylogenetically distinct genotypes, which are further subdivided into related subtypes. Accurate assignment of genotype/subtype is mandatory in the era of directly acting antivirals. Several molecular methods are available for HCV genotyping; however, a relevant number [...] Read more.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is classified into seven phylogenetically distinct genotypes, which are further subdivided into related subtypes. Accurate assignment of genotype/subtype is mandatory in the era of directly acting antivirals. Several molecular methods are available for HCV genotyping; however, a relevant number of samples with indeterminate, mixed, or unspecified subtype results, or even with misclassified genotypes, may occur. Using NS5B direct (DS) and ultra-deep pyrosequencing (UDPS), we have tested 43 samples, which resulted in genotype 1 unsubtyped (n = 17), mixed infection (n = 17), or indeterminate (n = 9) with the Abbott RealTime HCV Genotype II assay. Genotype 1 was confirmed in 14/17 samples (82%): eight resulted in subtype 1b, and five resulted in subtype 1a with both DS and UDPS, while one was classified as subtype 1e by DS and mixed infection (1e + 1a) by UDPS. Three of seventeen genotype 1 samples resulted in genotype 3h with both sequencing approaches. Only one mixed infection was confirmed by UDPS (4d + 1a), while in 88% of cases a single component of the mixture was detected (five genotype 1a, four genotype 1b, two genotype 3a, two genotype 4m, and two genotype 4d); 44% of indeterminate samples resulted genotype 2c by both DS and UDPS, 22% resulted genotype 3a; one indeterminate sample by Abbott resulted in genotype 4d, one resulted in genotype 6n, and one was classified as subtype 3a by DS, and resulted mixed infection (3a + 3h) by UDPS. The concordance between DS and UDPS was 94%, 88%, and 89% for genotype 1, co-infection, and indeterminate results, respectively. UDPS should be considered very useful to resolve ambiguous HCV genotyping results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hepatitis Virus Infection and Research)
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Article
Impact of Wisteria floribunda Agglutinin-Positive Mac-2-Binding Protein in Patients with Hepatitis C Virus-Related Compensated Liver Cirrhosis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(9), 1500; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms17091500 - 12 Sep 2016
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 3191
Abstract
We aimed to examine the effect of Wisteria floribunda agglutinin-positive Mac-2-binding protein (WFA+-M2BP) level on survival comparing with other laboratory liver fibrosis markers in hepatitis C virus (HCV)-related compensated liver cirrhosis (LC) (n = 165). For assessing prognostic performance of [...] Read more.
We aimed to examine the effect of Wisteria floribunda agglutinin-positive Mac-2-binding protein (WFA+-M2BP) level on survival comparing with other laboratory liver fibrosis markers in hepatitis C virus (HCV)-related compensated liver cirrhosis (LC) (n = 165). For assessing prognostic performance of continuous fibrosis markers, we adapted time-dependent receiver operating characteristics (ROC) curves for clinical outcome. In time-dependent ROC analysis, annual area under the ROCs (AUROCs) were plotted. We also calculated the total sum of AUROCs in all time-points (TAAT score) in each fibrosis marker. WFA+-M2BP value ranged from 0.66 cutoff index (COI) to 19.95 COI (median value, 5.29 COI). Using ROC analysis for survival, the optimal cutoff point for WFA+-M2BP was 6.15 COI (AUROC = 0.79348, sensitivity = 80.0%, specificity = 74.78%). The cumulative five-year survival rate in patients with WFA+-M2BP ≥ 6.15 COI (n = 69) was 43.99%, while that in patients with WFA+-M2BP < 6.15 COI (n = 96) was 88.40% (p < 0.0001). In the multivariate analysis, absence of hepatocellular carcinoma (p = 0.0008), WFA+-M2BP < 6.15 COI (p = 0.0132), achievement of sustained virological response (p < 0.0001) and des-γ-carboxy prothrombin < 41 mAU/mL (p = 0.0018) were significant favorable predictors linked to survival. In time-dependent ROC analysis in all cases, WFA+-M2BP had the highest TAAT score among liver fibrosis markers. In conclusion, WFA+-M2BP can be a useful predictor in HCV-related compensated LC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hepatitis Virus Infection and Research)
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Article
Heads or Tails: Genotyping of Hepatitis C Virus Concerning the 2k/1b Circulating Recombinant Form
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(9), 1384; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms17091384 - 23 Aug 2016
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3202
Abstract
As different hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotypes respond differently to initiated therapy, correct HCV genotyping is essential. A potential risk for misclassification of the intergenotypic HCV circulating recombinant form (CRF) 2k/1b strains exists, depending on the genotyping method used. The aim was to [...] Read more.
As different hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotypes respond differently to initiated therapy, correct HCV genotyping is essential. A potential risk for misclassification of the intergenotypic HCV circulating recombinant form (CRF) 2k/1b strains exists, depending on the genotyping method used. The aim was to investigate the differences in HCV genotyping methods with regard to CRF 2k/1b and to gain insight in the prevalence of the CRF 2k/1b. Genotyping results by Versant HCV Genotype Assay were compared with nonstructural protein 5B (NS5B) sequencing. In total, from November 2001 until March 2015, 3296 serum samples were analyzed by Versant HCV Genotype Assay. As misclassified CRF is harbored among HCV genotype 2, we further focused our search on 142 (4.3%) samples positive for HCV genotype 2. On 116 (81.7%) retrieved samples, the NS5B sequencing was performed. Twelve out of the 116 retrieved samples (10.3%) were classified as CRF 2k/1b by sequencing of the NS5B region. Ten of these 12 samples were originally misclassified as genotype 2a or 2c, while 2 of them were misclassified as genotype 2. Our results show that the current prevalence of CRF 2k/1b is underestimated. The importance of correct HCV genotyping is emphasized, considering the tailored choice of treatment regimen and overall prognosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hepatitis Virus Infection and Research)
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Article
Involvement of the Interleukin-23/Interleukin-17 Axis in Chronic Hepatitis C Virus Infection and Its Treatment Responses
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(7), 1070; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms17071070 - 15 Jul 2016
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 3029 | Correction
Abstract
Interleukin-23 (IL-23) and its downstream factor IL-17 are the key cytokines involved in immune and inflammatory response in chronic liver diseases. This study aimed to investigate the role and molecular mechanisms of the IL-23/Th17 axis in chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, and [...] Read more.
Interleukin-23 (IL-23) and its downstream factor IL-17 are the key cytokines involved in immune and inflammatory response in chronic liver diseases. This study aimed to investigate the role and molecular mechanisms of the IL-23/Th17 axis in chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, and the efficacy of IL-23/Th17 modulation in response to anti-HCV therapy. Sixty-six HCV-infected patients and 20 healthy controls were enrolled. The patients received PegIFNa-2a and ribavirin therapy for at least 48 weeks. The plasma level of IL-23 and the number of IL-17A-, IFN-γ-, and IL-21-producing peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) at baseline and 12, 24, and 48 weeks following treatment were determined. The mRNA level of Th17 immune-associated molecules in PBMCs was evaluated by real-time quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) following treatment with IL-23 agonist or antagonist. Our data showed that, compared to healthy controls, HCV-infected patients had an increased plasma level of IL-23 and increased frequencies of IL-17A- and IFN-γ-producing PBMCs, whereas the HCV patients exhibited a reduced number of IL-21-producing PBMCs. However, the baseline frequencies of IL-21-producing PBMCs were markedly higher in HCV patients who achieved rapid virological response (RVR) than those without RVR. Additionally, the mRNA expressions of IL-21, IFN-γ, myxovirus resistance protein A (MxA), and suppressor of cytokine signaling 3 (SOCS3) were significantly upregulated in PBMCs, while FoxP3 expression was suppressed by IL-23 agonist. Thus, the IL-23/Th17 axis plays an important role in development of chronic HCV infection and antiviral response. IL-23 may enhance the antiviral activity of interferon-based therapy by modulating the expression of Th17 cells-associated molecules in HCV-infected patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hepatitis Virus Infection and Research)
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Review

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Review
Unsolved Puzzles Surrounding HCV Immunity: Heterologous Immunity Adds Another Dimension
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(8), 1626; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms18081626 - 27 Jul 2017
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3186
Abstract
Chronic infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) afflicts 3% of the world’s population and can lead to serious and late-stage liver diseases. Developing a vaccine for HCV is challenging because the correlates of protection are uncertain and traditional vaccine approaches do not work. [...] Read more.
Chronic infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) afflicts 3% of the world’s population and can lead to serious and late-stage liver diseases. Developing a vaccine for HCV is challenging because the correlates of protection are uncertain and traditional vaccine approaches do not work. Studies of natural immunity to HCV in humans have resulted in many enigmas. Human beings are not immunologically naïve because they are continually exposed to various environmental microbes and antigens, creating large populations of memory T cells. Heterologous immunity occurs when this pool of memory T cells cross-react against a new pathogen in an individual. Such heterologous immunity could influence the outcome when an individual is infected by a pathogen. We have recently made an unexpected finding that adenoviruses, a common environmental pathogen and an experimental vaccine vector, can induce robust cross-reactive immune responses against multiple antigens of HCV. Our unique finding of previously uncharacterized heterologous immunity against HCV opens new avenues to understand HCV pathogenesis and develop effective vaccines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hepatitis Virus Infection and Research)
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