Serum concentration of γGT is a surrogate marker of hepatic TNF-α mRNA expression in chronic hepatitis C

Gloria Taliani, Maria Concetta Badolato, Giovanni Nigro, Mara Biasin, Vieri Boddi, Caterina Pasquazzi, Mario Clerici

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Serum γGT levels and hepatic expression of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) are host factors that can independently predict the outcome of interferon (IFN) treatment in patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. To explore whether a correlation exists between these two factors, we measured pretreatment γGT levels in serum and TNF-α mRNA levels in liver biopsies of chronic HCV patients. Seventy-two HCV patients treated with 3-to-5 million units of IFN-α three times a week were enrolled in the study. Treatment lasted 24 weeks and was followed by a 48-week follow-up period. Efficacy was assessed by measuring HCV RNA and alanine aminotransferase by the end of follow-up. Twelve patients (16.6%) showed a sustained biochemical and virological response. Normal pretreatment γGT levels, low HCV RNA titer, and infection with genotype other than HCV-1 were shown to be independent predictors of sustained response. Hepatic levels of TNF-α mRNA, quantified by polymerase chain reaction, were significantly higher in nonresponders (3.44 arbitrary units) compared to sustained responders (1.84 arbitrary units; P = 0.009). Values ≤3.12 arbitrary units independently predicted a sustained response to IFN (P = 0.014). Finally, TNF-α mRNA levels were significantly correlated with serum γGT levels (r = 0.79, P <0.0001). These findings suggest that serum γGT levels may represent a surrogate marker of hepatic TNF-α expression, thus explaining the importance of serum γGT levels in predicting treatment outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-285
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Immunology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2002


  • γGT levels
  • HCV chronic hepatitis
  • HCV RNA kinetic
  • IFN treatment
  • Predictors of response
  • TNF-α

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy


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