Serum islet cell autoantibodies during interferon α treatment in patients with HCV-genotype 4 chronic hepatitis

Gamal Badra, Imam Waked, Carlo Selmi, Saleh M. Saleh, Ahmed El-Shaarawy, Mahmoud Lotfy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a leading cause of end-stage liver disease worldwide and HCV genotype 4 (HCV4) is predominant in African and Middle Eastern countries. It is well established that interferon-α (IFNa) treatment for HCV may trigger serum autoantibodies against pancreatic islet cells (ICA) in a subgroup of patients. Available data on the incidence of ICA during IFNa therapy for chronic HCV4 infection are not conclusive. We investigated the appearance of ICA in 40 naïve Egyptian patients (38 males, 32 ± 6 years) with histologically defined chronic HCV4 infection undergoing IFNa treatment at a dose of 9-million U/week for 24 weeks. Serum samples were collected at baseline and following IFNa therapy and ICA were detected using indirect immunofluorescence. Baseline evaluation indicated that 2/40 (5%) patients had detectable serum ICA. After the completion of the treatment scheme, 12/38 (32%) previously ICA negative patients became ICA positive; however, no patient developed impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) or diabetes during follow-up. In conclusion, we submit that IFNa treatment for chronic hepatitis C (CHC) may induce serum ICA in one-third of Egyptian patients with HCV4. These autoantibodies, however, do not lead to alterations in glucose metabolism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-15
Number of pages5
JournalClinical and Developmental Immunology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2006


  • Antiviral treatment
  • Chronic hepatitis C
  • Genotype 4
  • Glucose tolerance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Cell Biology
  • Developmental Biology


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