Analysis of serum cytokine levels in primary biliary cirrhosis patients and healthy adults.
Yamashiki M. Kosaka Y. Nishimura A. Watanabe S. Nomoto M. Ichida F.
Department of Laboratory Medicine, Mie University School of Medicine, Japan.
By using commercially available ELISA kits, serum IL-6 and TNF-alpha levels in healthy adults, and the levels of various cytokines in patients with primary biliary cirrhosis or chronic viral liver diseases, were investigated. IL-6 levels of healthy subjects were distributed in a wide range, and the distribution pattern was similar to those of the patients. TNF-alpha levels tended to be low in females in their 30s, but there were no abnormalities in the patients. Characteristic findings, in the primary biliary cirrhosis patients, were an increase of IFN-gamma and IL-2 levels, and a decrease of GM-CSF levels (P < 0.05). IL-8 levels were higher in the patients than in the healthy subjects (P < 0.05), and the increase was remarkable in chronic viral liver disease patients. We believe that measurement of serum cytokine levels as a clinical immunological test is highly useful. Further development of simpler, more rapid, and more sensitive analysis methods is desired.
Flow cytometric analysis of IL-6 receptors on peripheral lymphocytes in patients with primary biliary cirrhosis.
Yamashiki M. Kosaka Y. Nishioka J. Tameda Y. Takase K. Watanabe S. Kaito M. Nishimura A. Suzuki H. Nomoto M.
Department of Laboratory Medicine, Mie University School of Medicine, Tsu, Japan.
Interleukin-6 receptors (IL-6R) and interleukin-1 receptors (IL-1R) on lymphocyte surfaces were analyzed, using flow cytometry and dye-labeled IL-6 and IL-1 beta, to examine the clinical and immunological significance of these receptors. Incubation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells in the presence of mitogen resulted in a remarkable increase of lymphocytes expressing the IL-6 and IL-1 beta receptors on the cell surface. The increase in lymphocytes bearing these cytokine receptors may reflect an increase in stimulated lymphocytes. When peripheral blood from patients with primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) was examined for these receptors, the percentage of IL-6R positive cells was significantly higher in the patients than in healthy controls (P < 0.01). The increase in IL-6R positive cells was only significant for the T lymphocyte fraction (P < 0.01). No significant change in IL-1R was observed. There was a significant positive correlation between the percentage of IL-6R positive T lymphocytes and the titer of antimitochondrial antibody in patients with PBC. These findings concerning IL-6R may be noteworthy elucidating autoimmune etiological features of PBC.
Quantitative measurement of serum HCV RNA in patients with chronic hepatitis C: comparison between Amplicor HCV monitor system and branched DNA signal amplification assay.
Lu RH. Hwang SJ. Chan CY. Chang FY. Lee SD.
Department of Medicine, Veterans General Hospital-Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China.
Quantitative measurement of serum hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA is important in predicting and monitoring the therapeutic effects of interferon in treating patients with chronic hepatitis C. We compared two commercial available assays, Roche Amplicor HCV Monitor test kits and Chiron branched DNA signal amplification (bDNA) assay, in quantitative measurement of serum HCV RNA in 74 patients with chronic hepatitis C. The serum HCV RNA of each of these patients was qualitatively positive by conventional reverse transcription-nested polymerase chain reaction. Serum HCV RNA was detected positive by the Amplicor test kits in 63 (85%) patients and by the bDNA assay in 58 (78%) patients (P > 0.05). The quantitative results of HCV RNA detected by both assays showed a good linear correlation (r = 0.56, P < 0.001). Amplicor test kits detected 5 patients with low viremia which were below the detection limit of the bDNA assay (2.0 x 10(5) genome equivalents/ml). However, the mean HCV RNA values detected by the Amplicor test kits was 1.26 log lower than that of the bDNA assay. The Amplicor test kits detected only 5 samples (8%) with a HCV RNA value greater than 5 x 10(6) copies/ml, while the bDNA assay detected 23 samples (40%) with a HCV RNA value greater than 5 x 10(6) genome equivalents/ml (P < 0.01). HCV genotype did not affect the positive rate of HCV RNA measurement detected by both assays. However, a significantly higher mean serum HCV RNA value was noted in HCV genotype 1b as compared with the other genotypes. We concluded that the Roche Amplicor HCV Monitor test kits and the Chiron branched DNA signal amplification assay are equally sensitive in the quantitative measurement of serum HCV RNA in patients with chronic hepatitis C and can be reliably used in measuring HCV viremia clinically.
Immunohistochemical detection of MUC2 mucin core protein in ulcerative colitis.
Hinoda Y. Akashi H. Suwa T. Itoh F. Adachi M. Endo T. Satoh M. Xing PX. Imai K.
First Department of Internal Medicine, Sapporo Medical University, Japan.
MUC2 mucin is predominantly expressed in the colon and is considered to play an important role in the protection of that organ. Recent findings suggested that MUC2 protein levels are significantly decreased in active ulcerative colitis (UC). We therefore performed an immunohistochemical study to reveal if the expression of MUC2 protein is altered in UC. Seventy-nine biopsy tissue specimens from 31 UC patients, along with normal colon tissues, were immunostained with anti-MUC2 mucin core protein monoclonal antibody (MoAb) CCP58 (IgG1). UC tissue specimens were divided into two groups based on the histological severity of inflammation, i.e., 64 with active inflammation (grades 2-5) and 15 without (grade 1). In the former group, 52 out of 64 (81.3%) tissue specimens contained sections of glands with a few cells positive for MoAb CCP58. These glands were small and consisted of MUC2 negative-short cells and a few positive cells without apparent mucus formation, considered to be immature regenerative glands. In contrast, the staining pattern was almost the same as that of the normal colon and no immature glands were seen in the group without active inflammation. The sections of immature regenerative glands with a few MUC2-positive cells were exclusively found in the UC tissues with active inflammation, but not in those without it, suggesting that the expression of MUC2 protein may be decreased in active UC.