Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2015, Article ID 287640, 16 pages
Review Article

Activins and Follistatin in Chronic Hepatitis C and Its Treatment with Pegylated-Interferon-α Based Therapy

1Laboratory Medicine Department, Faculty of Applied Medical Sciences, Umm Al-Qura University, Al-’Abdiyah Campus, P. O. Box 7607, Makkah, Saudi Arabia
2Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, Assiut University, Assiut 6515, Egypt
3Special Infectious Agents Unit, King Fahd Medical Research Center, King Abdulaziz University, P.O. Box 80216, Jeddah 21589, Saudi Arabia
4Department of Medical Laboratory Technology, Faculty of Applied Medical Sciences, King Abdulaziz University, P.O. Box 80216, Jeddah 21589, Saudi Arabia

Received 10 January 2015; Revised 27 February 2015; Accepted 27 February 2015

Academic Editor: Limin Chen

Copyright © 2015 Bassem Refaat et al. 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.


Pegylated-interferon-α based therapy for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C (CHC) is considered suboptimal as not all patients respond to the treatment and it is associated with several side effects that could lead to dose reduction and/or termination of therapy. The currently used markers to monitor the response to treatment are based on viral kinetics and their performance in the prediction of treatment outcome is moderate and does not combine accuracy and their values have several limitations. Hence, the development of new sensitive and specific predictor markers could provide a useful tool for the clinicians and healthcare providers, especially in the new era of interferon-free therapy, for the classification of patients according to their response to the standard therapy and only subscribing the novel directly acting antiviral drugs to those who are anticipated not to respond to the conventional therapy and/or have absolute contraindications for its use. The importance of activins and follistatin in the regulation of immune system, liver biology, and pathology has recently emerged. This review appraises the up-to-date knowledge regarding the role of activins and follistatin in liver biology and immune system and their role in the pathophysiology of CHC.