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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 10, Issue 5, Pages 253-258

Cell adhesion molecules and hyaluronic acid as markers of inflammation, fibrosis and response to antiviral therapy in chronic hepatitis C patients

1Pediatric Gastroenterology Unit, Pediatrics Department, Hadassah University Hospital – Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, P.O. Box 12000, Jerusalem 91120, Israel
2Liver Unit, Hadassah University Hospital – Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, P.O. Box 12000, Jerusalem 91120, Israel

Copyright © 2001 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. 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.


Objective: Cell adhesion molecules (intracellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1)) and hyaluronic acid, markers of inflammation and fibrosis were monitored in hepatitis C patients to determine whether changes in plasma levels, during antiviral treatment, can predict long-term response to therapy.

Methods: In 55 patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV), 33 treated with interferon (IFN) and 22 treated with IFN + ribavirin, sera was collected prior to treatment, at 3 + 6 months of therapy and 6 months post-treatment. Levels of ICAM-1, VCAM-1 and hyaluronic acid were correlated with alanine aminotransferase levels, HCV-RNA-polymerase chain reaction status and histological fibrosis scoring.

Results: A decrease in ICAM-1 levels at 3 and 6 months of therapy, compared with pretreatment levels, was observed in responders to IFN + ribavirin therapy but this decrease in ICAM-1 levels was not evident following cessation of treatment. Hyaluronic acid levels, in both treatment groups, did not differ significantly between responders and non-responders. Hyaluronic acid levels did correlate, significantly, with degree of fibrosis whereas VCAM-1 levels were marginally increased only in patients with moderate (grade III) fibrosis.

Conclusions: Monitoring of VCAM-1 and hyaluronic acid, during antiviral therapy, does not differentiate between responders and non-responders. A decrease in ICAM-1 levels during IFN + ribavirin treatmment is associated with response to therapy, and its efficacy in predicting long-term response should be further substantiated.