Serum interferon gamma in primary biliary cirrhosis: Effect of ursodeoxycholic acid and prednisone therapy alone and in combination

Mario Fracchia, Paola Secreto, Marco Tabone, Caterina Zaffino, Angelo Pera, Giovanni Galatola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. Interferon-γ may have immunopathogenic importance in primary biliary cirrhosis, stimulating aberrant expression on biliary epithelium of class II major histocompatibility molecules and inter-cellular adhesion molecule-1. Liver transcripts for interferon-γ are found in primary biliary cirrhosis. Its serum level is increased in pretransplantation stages and decreases after transplantation. Objectives. (1) To verify whether serum interferon-γ levels are increased in non-cirrhotic stages of primary biliary cirrhosis. (2) To evaluate the effect of ursodeoxycholic acid and prednisone alone and in combination on serum levels of interferon-γ and soluble inter-cellular adhesion molecule-1. Methods. Nine non-cirrhotic, anicteric patients with primary biliary cirrhosis (patient test group), 14 healthy, negative controls and 14 positive controls, with chronic hepatitis related to hepatitis C virus were studied in basal condition. Primary biliary cirrhosis patients were treated with ursodeoxycholic acid, prednisone and the association of the two drugs for three 4-week periods, each period separated by a 4-week wash-out. Interferon-γ and soluble inter-cellular adhesion molecule-1 were measured in serum by commercially available immuno-enzymatic kits. Results. Median interferon-γ levels were increased in patients with primary biliary cirrhosis compared with healthy controls (44 vs 19 pg/ml; P <0.01) but similar to those in chronic hepatitis patients (47 pg/ml). Serum soluble inter-cellular adhesion molecule-1 was significantly reduced by ursodeoxycholic acid, and an even greater reduction was obtained on addition of prednisone. No treatment affected interferon-γ levels. Conclusion. Serum interferon-γ is increased in noncirrhotic patients with primary biliary cirrhosis, but this is not disease-specific. Neither ursodeoxycholic acid, nor prednisone, nor the combination of the two drugs influenced this immunological pathway of primary biliary cirrhosis. (C) 2000 Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)463-468
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Corticosteroid
  • Interferon-γ
  • Prednisone
  • Primary biliary cirrhosis
  • Soluble inter-cellular adhesion molecule-1
  • Ursodeoxycholic acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


Dive into the research topics of 'Serum interferon gamma in primary biliary cirrhosis: Effect of ursodeoxycholic acid and prednisone therapy alone and in combination'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this