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Expression of the chemokine IP-10 (CXCL10) by hepatocytes in chronic hepatitis C virus infection correlates with histological severity and lobular inflammation.

Harvey CE, Post JJ, Palladinetti P, Freeman AJ, Ffrench RA, Kumar RK, Marinos G, Lloyd AR

  • Journal Journal of leukocyte biology

  • Published 27 Oct 2003

  • Volume 74

  • ISSUE 3

  • Pagination 360-9

  • DOI 10.1189/jlb.0303093


The factors influencing lymphocyte trafficking to the liver lobule during chronic hepaititis C virus (HCV) infection are currently not well defined. Interferon-gamma-inducible protein 10 (IP-10), a chemokine that recruits activated T lymphocytes, has recently been shown by in situ hybridization to be expressed in the liver during chronic HCV infection. This study sought to define the cellular source of IP-10 in the liver by immunohistochemistry, to examine the expression of its receptor, CXCR3, on T lymphocytes isolated from blood and liver tissue, and to correlate IP-10 expression with the histological markers of inflammation and fibrosis. IP-10 was expressed by hepatocytes but not by other cell types within the liver, and the most intense immunoreactivity was evident in the areas of lobular inflammation. The IP-10 receptor was expressed on a significantly higher proportion of T lymphocytes in the liver compared with blood. CD8 T lymphocytes, which predominate in the liver lobule, were almost uniformly CXCR3-positive. The expression of IP-10 mRNA correlated with lobular necroinflammatory activity but not with inflammation or fibrosis in the portal tracts. These findings suggest that IP-10 may be induced by HCV within hepatocytes and may be important in the pathogenesis of chronic HCV infection, as recruitment of inflammatory cells into the lobule is an important predictor of disease progression.