Date of this Version
JOURNAL OF INTERFERON & CYTOKINE RESEARCH Volume 34, Number 1, 2014
Enhanced endogenous interferon (IFN) stimulated gene (ISG) signature has been associated with nonresponsiveness to hepatitis C treatment using pegylated-IFNα (pegIFNα) and ribavirin (RBV) in human immunodeficiency virus/hepatitis C virus (HIV/HCV) coinfected patients. Using a proteomic approach, we identified high levels of IFNα receptor 2a (IFNαR2a) in the serum of null responders to pegIFNα/RBV. IFNαR2a inhibited antiviral activity of all formulations of IFNα in JFH/Huh7.5 cells. Furthermore, serum from null responders, but not from those who achieved sustained virologic response, suppressed IFN-signaling and ISG expression in IFNα-stimulated PBMCs of healthy donors in an IFNαR2a specific fashion. An IFNαR2a transgenic mice model (C57BL/6) was generated that had significantly higher levels of IFNαR2a in the serum than the controls (P=0.001). Total ISG expression in the lymph nodes was significantly higher compared to wild-type mice (P value=0.0016). In addition, IFITM1 and SP110 had significantly increased expression in the liver, IFITM1 and ISG15 in the lymph node, and ISG15 and PLSCR1 in the spleen (P value<0.05). The underlying mechanism of resistance to hepatitis C treatment may involve transsignaling of the JAK/STAT pathway by the sIFNαR2a-IFNα/β complex and result in the enhanced ISG signature observed in null responders. In this regard, the transgenic mice model simulated nonresponders to IFNα therapy and provides valuable insights into the role of sIFNαR2a- IFNα interactions in vivo. © Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.