Decreased HCV-specific Immunity in African-Americans May Help Explain Poorer Response to Antiviral Therapy Con
Baseline HCV It is well known that African-American patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection do not respond as well as whites to interferon-based therapy, but the reasons for this difference are not well understood.
In a study reported in the August 2007 issue of Hepatology, researchers from the University of Colorado in Denver performed a study to shed further light on this issue.
They examined type 1 T-helper cell (Th1) responses to HCV proteins and cytomegalovirus (CMV) antigens in 187 Caucasian-American and 187 African-American patients with chronic genotype 1 HCV infection, using a sensitive interferon-gamma enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISPOT) assay.
ELISPOT responses were examined relative to human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class II alleles and outcome of therapy with pegylated interferon plus ribavirin.
"Compared to Caucasian-Americans, African-Americans have weaker HCV-specific immunity," the authors concluded. "Pretreatment HCV-specific immunity is associated with response to combination antiviral therapy."
HR Rosen, SJ Weston, K Im, and others. Selective decrease in hepatitis C virus-specific immunity among African Americans and outcome of antiviral therapy.
Hepatology 46(2): 350-358. August 2007.