High level of IL-27 positively correlated with Th17 cells may indicate liver injury in patients infected with HBV.
Zhang GL, Xie DY, Ye YN, Lin CS, Zhang XH, Zheng YB, Huang ZL, Peng L, Gao ZL. Liver Int. 2013 Jun 27. doi: 10.1111/liv.12268. [Epub ahead of print]
Department of Infectious Diseases, The Third Affiliated Hospital of Sun-Yat-Sen University, GuangZhou, China; Key Laboratory of Tropical Disease Control (Sun Yat-Sen University), Ministry of Education, Guangzhou, China.
Interleukin-6/IL-12 family cytokines play a key role in inflammatory diseases via their effects on the differentiation or regulation of T helper cells.
The aim of this study was to determine the role of interleukin-27 (IL-27) and its association with helper T cells in hepatitis B virus (HBV)-infected patients.
Samples were assessed from 51 HBV-infected patients [28 chronic hepatitis B (CHB) subjects and 23 acute-on-chronic liver failure (ACLF) subjects] and 18 normal controls (NC). Serum IL-27 levels were examined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Circulating helper T cells were determined using flow cytometry and associations between IL-27 expression and helper T cells were analysed.
Serum IL-27 levels rose in HBV-infected patients (502.88 ± 23.35 pg/ml) compared to (NC, 277.14 ± 23.96 pg/ml, P < 0.0001). Furthermore, it significantly increased in patients with ACLF (587.90 ± 33.08 pg/ml) when compared with CHB (433.04 ± 26.57 pg/ml, P = 0.001). However, no statistically significant differences were observed between IL-27 and the presence of HBeAg. High levels of IL-27 then positively correlated with Tbil levels (r = 0.401, P = 0.004), but negatively associated with prothrombin time activity levels (r = -0.496, P < 0.001), and a slightly negative correlation trend with HBV-DNA loads (r = -0.228, P = 0.107) existed in these HBV-infected subjects. Additionally, frequency of circulating interleukin-17-producing CD4+ T cells (Th17 cells) increased in HBV-infected patients (ACLF, mean, 5.39%; CHB, median, 3.12%) as compared to NC subjects (median, 2.22%, P < 0.0001). Moreover, correlation analysis showed that serum IL-27 level was positively associated with circulating Th17 cells (r = 0.342, P = 0.036).
These results provided evidence that IL-27 was positively correlated with Th17 cells commitment, and may exerted a proinflammatory effect in the development of liver injury in HBV-infected patients.