The pathogenesis of HBV-related acute-on-chronic liver failure (HBV-ACLF) is mainly based on a heightened immune-inflammatory reaction; however, the intimate underlying mechanism remains unclear.
The aim of the study was to explore potential key immune molecular targets that could serve as early predictive markers for HBV-ACLF.
Patients and Methods:
Twenty-seven patients with acute exacerbation of chronic hepatitis B (CHB) (defined by: alanine transaminase ≥ 20 ULN, total bilirubin ≥ 5 ULN, 40% < prothrombin time activity ≤ 60%) and without cirrhosis were divided into 18 cases which did not progress to HBV-ACLF (defined by: prothrombin time activity < 40% and development within four weeks of hepatic encephalopathy and/or ascites) and nine cases that developed HBV-ACLF. Nine healthy people defined the normal control group (NC). Interleukin-1β (IL-1β), IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-12p70, TNF-α and IFN-γ protein levels were assayed by Cytometric Bead Array (CBA) in blood plasma. The ELISA method was applied to confirm IL-10 detection using the CBA method.
IL-4, IL-12p70 and IFN-γ were undetectable; IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10 and TNF-α levels were significantly higher than in NC. Moreover, cytokines reached the highest levels in acute exacerbation of CHB, with the exception of IL-2 and IL-8. When comparing the HBV-ACLF patients prior to and at the time of ACLF diagnosis, IL-10 was the only cytokine that exhibited a significant decrease (P = 0.008). IL-10 concentrations were positively correlated to ALT levels (r = 0.711, P < 0.001).
The assessment of plasma IL-10 levels in chronic hepatitis B acute exacerbation may provide an early predictive marker for progression to HBV-ACLF.