ISSN: 0973-7510

E-ISSN: 2581-690X

Research Article | Open Access
Safaa S. Abo-Elnour1 , Amira E. Abdelhamid1, Sherine E. Bendary1, Ossama A. Ahmed2, Heba I. Aly3 and Dina M. Erfan1
1Medical Microbiology and Immunology Department, Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University, Abbasya, Cairo – 11591, Egypt.
2Internal Medicine, Gasroenterology and Hepatology Department, Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University, Abbasya, Cairo – 11591, Egypt.
3Tropical Medicine Department, Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University, Abbasya, Cairo – 11591, Egypt.
J Pure Appl Microbiol. 2020;14(4):2431-2442 | Article Number: 6535 | © The Author(s). 2020
Received: 16/07/2020 | Accepted: 23/11/2020 | Published: 11/12/2020

Interleukin-35 (IL-35), secreted mainly by T-regulatory cells (T-regs), has been considered to have immunosuppressive actions in many auto-immune diseases and tumors. However, information about its role in chronic hepatitis C (CHC) infection is still limited. We aimed to study the role of IL-35 within CHC infection and to assess its correlation with T-regs and T-helper 17 cells (Th-17). Therefore, we measured serum IL-35 concentrations using ELISA assay in 25 normal controls (NCs) and in 30 CHC patients before receiving direct antiviral agents (DAA) treatment and after 3 months of treatment end. T-regs and Th-17 cells frequencies were assessed via flow-cytometry in control group and patients’ group before treatment. The results showed that serum IL-35 levels revealed a highly significant increase in CHC patients compared to NCs (P <0.001). Moreover, IL-35 levels significantly decreased in patients 3 months after treatment end (P =0.02). Both Th-17 and T-regs were significantly increased in patients more than in NCs and a positive correlation was observed between them. However, T-regs/Th-17 ratio did not show significant difference from the ratio in NCs. IL-35 levels were positively correlated with viral load and T-regs frequency, but not with Th-17 frequency. IL-35 levels did not correlate with liver enzymes or functions. These results suggested that IL-35 enhances the immunosuppressive functions of T-regs, protecting the liver from HCV induced damage and contributes to viral persistence. IL-35 may represent a possible immunotherapeutic strategy for chronic persistent infection if given with DAA, especially in relapsing or non-responding cases.


HCV, CHC, Interleukin 35, immunosuppressive cytokines, T helper 17 cells, T regulatory cells

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© The Author(s) 2020. Open Access. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License which permits unrestricted use, sharing, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.