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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 10, Issue 1, Pages 37-41

Recurrence of hepatitis C after liver transplantation is associated with increased systemic IL-10 levels

The Recanati Miller Transplantation Institute, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, One Gustave L. Levy Place, POB 1504, New York 10029, NY, USA

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.


Background: Recurrence of hepatitis C after liver transplantation is an almost universal occurrence. T-cell derived cytokines have an important role in the development of liver damage associated with chronic hepatitis C, their post-transplant levels, however, have not been correlated with histologic recurrence of the disease.

Aims: We sought to analyze levels of TNF-α, soluble IL2 receptor, IL-4 and IL-10 at 1 month, 6 months and 1 year after transplantation in 27 patients undergoing transplantation for hepatitis C related end-stage liver disease.

Methods: HCV RNA levels were monitored by a branched-chain DNA signal amplification assay. Diagnosis of recurrent hepatitis was based on 1-year protocol biopsies and on biopsies performed for liver enzyme elevations.

Results: Recurrent hepatitis C was detected in 52% (n =14) of the 27 patients. HCV RNA levels rose over time in all patients regardless of histologic recurrence. TNF-α, and IL-4 levels, although elevated, did not show specific patterns over time or in correlation with recurrence. Similarly, the early elevation followed by a gradual decrease over the first year in the amount of soluble IL-2 receptor was not related to histologic recurrence. We observed a significant increase in circulating IL-10 levels over the first year in patients with biopsy-proven recurrence, while patients with no signs of histologic recurrence displayed increased, but steady levels.

Conclusions: These results suggest that while these cytokines are associated with post-transplant recurrence of hepatitis C, their production may be altered by additional factors.