Changes in serum transforming growth factor-β1 levels in chronic hepatitis C patients under antiviral therapy

Authors Ioanna Kotsiri, Emilia Hadziyannis, Anastasia Georgiou, Maria-Vasiliki Papageorgiou, Ioannis Vlachogiannakos, George Papatheodoridis.


Background Several cytokines including transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 have been suggested to be involved in the pathogenesis of fibrosis in chronic hepatitis C. We examined the changes of TGF-β1 serum levels and their predictive value in patients with chronic hepatitis C under antiviral therapy.

Methods We included 84 patients with chronic hepatitis C who were treated with pegylated interferon-α and ribavirin between 2008 and 2009. Treatment was given for 24-48 weeks depending on HCV genotype. Serum TGF-β1 levels were measured by an ELISA assay at baseline, at the end of therapy (EOT), and at 6 months after the EOT. Liver fibrosis was evaluated by transient elastography.

Results Of the 84 patients, 76.2% achieved sustained virological response (SVR), 8.3% responded at the EOT but relapsed during post-therapy follow up (RR) and 15.5% had no response (NR). In all patients, mean TGF-β1 levels were 16,980 pg/mL at baseline and decreased signifi cantly at EOT (12,041 pg/mL) and at 6 months of post-treatment follow up (13,254 pg/mL) (P≤0.001). In particular, mean TGF-β1 levels decreased signifi cantly from baseline to EOT and to six months of post-treatment follow up in patients with SVR and numerically but not signifi cantly in patients with RR or NR. TGF-β1 levels were not associated with the severity of liver stiffness estimated by transient elastography.

Conclusion Our data show that TGF-β1 serum levels decrease signifi cantly at the EOT and remain decreased 6 months after the EOT mostly in chronic hepatitis C patients who achieve SVR after pegylated interferon-α and ribavirin combination treatment.

Keywords TGF-β1, HCV, elastography, antiviral treatment, liver fibrosis

Ann Gastroenterol 2016; 29 (1): 79-84

Original Articles