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Correction published on 26 October 2016, see Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(11), 1793.

Open AccessArticle
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(7), 1070;

Involvement of the Interleukin-23/Interleukin-17 Axis in Chronic Hepatitis C Virus Infection and Its Treatment Responses

Department of Traditional and Western Medical Hepatology, Third Hospital of Hebei Medical University, Shijiazhuang 050000, China
Storr Liver Centre, Westmead Institute for Medical Research (WIMR), the University of Sydney at Westmead Hospital, Westmead, NSW 2145, Australia
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Tatsuo Kanda
Received: 26 April 2016 / Revised: 27 June 2016 / Accepted: 29 June 2016 / Published: 15 July 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hepatitis Virus Infection and Research)
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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. View Full-Text
Keywords: hepatitis C virus; interleukin-23; T helper 17 cells; interferon-γ; myxovirus resistance protein A hepatitis C virus; interleukin-23; T helper 17 cells; interferon-γ; myxovirus resistance protein A

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Meng, P.; Zhao, S.; Niu, X.; Fu, N.; Su, S.; Wang, R.; Zhang, Y.; Qiao, L.; Nan, Y. Involvement of the Interleukin-23/Interleukin-17 Axis in Chronic Hepatitis C Virus Infection and Its Treatment Responses. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17, 1070.

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