- Soluble serum CD81 is elevated in patients with chronic hepatitis C and correlates with alanine aminotransferase serum activity (2012)
- Aim: Cellular CD81 is a well characterized hepatitis C virus (HCV) entry factor, while the relevance of soluble exosomal CD81 in HCV pathogenesis is poorly defined. We performed a case-control study to investigate whether soluble CD81 in the exosomal serum fraction is associated with HCV replication and inflammatory activity. Patients and Methods: Four cohorts were investigated, patients with chronic hepatitis C (n = 37), patients with chronic HCV infection and persistently normal ALT levels (n = 24), patients with long term sustained virologic response (SVR, n = 7), and healthy volunteers (n = 23). Concentration of soluble CD81 was assessed semi-quantitatively after differential centrifugation ranging from 200 g to 100,000 g in the fifth centrifugation fraction by immunoblotting and densitometry. Results: Soluble CD81 was increased in patients with chronic hepatitis C compared to healthy subjects (p = 0.03) and cured patients (p = 0.017). Patients with chronic HCV infection and persistently normal ALT levels and patients with long term SVR had similar soluble CD81 levels as healthy controls (p>0.2). Overall, soluble CD81 levels were associated with ALT levels (r = 0.334, p = 0.016) and severe liver fibrosis (p = 0.027). Conclusion: CD81 is increased in the exosomal serum fraction in patients with chronic hepatitis C and appears to be associated with inflammatory activity and severity of fibrosis.
- Hepatitis C viral evolution in genotype 1 treatment-naïve and treatment-experienced patients receiving telaprevir-based therapy in clinical trials (2012)
- Background: In patients with genotype 1 chronic hepatitis C infection, telaprevir (TVR) in combination with peginterferon and ribavirin (PR) significantly increased sustained virologic response (SVR) rates compared with PR alone. However, genotypic changes could be observed in TVR-treated patients who did not achieve an SVR. Methods: Population sequence analysis of the NS3•4A region was performed in patients who did not achieve SVR with TVR-based treatment. Results: Resistant variants were observed after treatment with a telaprevir-based regimen in 12% of treatment-naïve patients (ADVANCE; T12PR arm), 6% of prior relapsers, 24% of prior partial responders, and 51% of prior null responder patients (REALIZE, T12PR48 arms). NS3 protease variants V36M, R155K, and V36M+R155K emerged frequently in patients with genotype 1a and V36A, T54A, and A156S/T in patients with genotype 1b. Lower-level resistance to telaprevir was conferred by V36A/M, T54A/S, R155K/T, and A156S variants; and higher-level resistance to telaprevir was conferred by A156T and V36M+R155K variants. Virologic failure during telaprevir treatment was more common in patients with genotype 1a and in prior PR nonresponder patients and was associated with higher-level telaprevir-resistant variants. Relapse was usually associated with wild-type or lower-level resistant variants. After treatment, viral populations were wild-type with a median time of 10 months for genotype 1a and 3 weeks for genotype 1b patients. Conclusions: A consistent, subtype-dependent resistance profile was observed in patients who did not achieve an SVR with telaprevir-based treatment. The primary role of TVR is to inhibit wild-type virus and variants with lower-levels of resistance to telaprevir. The complementary role of PR is to clear any remaining telaprevir-resistant variants, especially higher-level telaprevir-resistant variants. Resistant variants are detectable in most patients who fail to achieve SVR, but their levels decline over time after treatment.
- C-terminal fluorescent labeling impairs functionality of DNA mismatch repair proteins (2012)
- The human DNA mismatch repair (MMR) process is crucial to maintain the integrity of the genome and requires many different proteins which interact perfectly and coordinated. Germline mutations in MMR genes are responsible for the development of the hereditary form of colorectal cancer called Lynch syndrome. Various mutations mainly in two MMR proteins, MLH1 and MSH2, have been identified so far, whereas 55% are detected within MLH1, the essential component of the heterodimer MutLα (MLH1 and PMS2). Most of those MLH1 variants are pathogenic but the relevance of missense mutations often remains unclear. Many different recombinant systems are applied to filter out disease-associated proteins whereby fluorescent tagged proteins are frequently used. However, dye labeling might have deleterious effects on MutLα's functionality. Therefore, we analyzed the consequences of N- and C-terminal fluorescent labeling on expression level, cellular localization and MMR activity of MutLα. Besides significant influence of GFP- or Red-fusion on protein expression we detected incorrect shuttling of single expressed C-terminal GFP-tagged PMS2 into the nucleus and found that C-terminal dye labeling impaired MMR function of MutLα. In contrast, N-terminal tagged MutLαs retained correct functionality and can be recommended both for the analysis of cellular localization and MMR efficiency.
- Serum microRNA-122 predicts survival in patients with liver cirrhosis (2012)
- BACKGROUND: Liver cirrhosis is associated with high morbidity and mortality. MicroRNAs (miRs) circulating in the blood are an emerging new class of biomarkers. In particular, the serum level of the liver-specific miR-122 might be a clinically useful new parameter in patients with acute or chronic liver disease. AIM: Here we investigated if the serum level of miR-122 might be a prognostic parameter in patients with liver cirrhosis. METHODS: 107 patients with liver cirrhosis in the test cohort and 143 patients in the validation cohort were prospectively enrolled into the present study. RNA was extracted from the sera obtained at the time of study enrollment and the level of miR-122 was assessed. Serum miR-122 levels were assessed by quantitative reverse-transcription PCR (RT-PCR) and were compared to overall survival time and to different complications of liver cirrhosis. RESULTS: Serum miR-122 levels were reduced in patients with hepatic decompensation in comparison to patients with compensated liver disease. Patients with ascites, spontaneous bacterial peritonitis and hepatorenal syndrome had significantly lower miR-122 levels than patients without these complications. Multivariate Cox regression analysis revealed that the miR-122 serum levels were associated with survival independently from the MELD score, sex and age. CONCLUSIONS: Serum miR-122 is a new independent marker for prediction of survival of patients with liver cirrhosis.