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Accession IconGSE31455

Primary human hepatocytes treated with IL28B and the HCV JFH1 Genotype 2A clone.

Organism Icon Homo sapiens
Sample Icon 12 Downloadable Samples
Technology Badge Icon Affymetrix Human Genome U133 Plus 2.0 Array (hgu133plus2)

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Recent identification of IL28B gene polymorphisms associated with hepatitis C virus (HCV) clearance suggests a role for type III interferons (IFNs) in hepatitis C infection. The function of type III IFNs in intrinsic antiviral immunity is poorly understood. Here we show that HCV infection of primary human hepatocytes results in a robust induction of type III but not type I IFNs, leading to IFN- stimulated gene (ISG) expression. In addition, HCV infection elicits a much broader range of gene expression alterations in addition to ISG induction. The induction of type III IFNs is mediated by IRF3 and NFkB- dependent pathways. Type III IFN, aside from upregulating ISGs with a different kinetic profile, induces a distinct set of genes from type I IFN, potentially explaining the functional difference between the two types of IFNs. Chimpanzees undergoing experimental HCV infection demonstrated a prompt hepatic induction of IL28, associating with ISG upregulation, but minimal type I IFN induction. Analysis of liver biopsies from HCV-infected patients supported a close correlation among hepatic expression of IL28 and ISGs, but not with type I IFNs. Our study demonstrates that HCV infection results predominantly in type III IFN induction in the liver and the level of induction correlates with hepatic ISG levels, thus providing a mechanistic explanation for the association between IL28, ISG levels and recovery from HCV infection as well as a potential therapeutic strategy for the treatment of non-responders.
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