Hepatoprotective effects of early pentoxifylline administration on hepatic injury induced by concanavalin A in rat.
Congenital coagulation disorders limit the use of liver biopsy, especially when repeated assessment is needed. TGF-beta 1 plays a pivotal role in inducing fibrosis and has been proposed as its surrogate marker. Aiming at validating the clinical utility of this cytokine, fifteen haemophilic patients suffering from HCV-related chronic hepatitis were treated with Peg-IFN alpha2beta plus Ribavirin. Serum TGFbeta 1, viral load and liver enzymes were analyzed at baseline and at six, twelve, and eighteen months. As expected, patients initially showed significantly higher TGF-beta 1 levels than age-matched controls (43.8 ng/mL, 28.7-46.4 vs. 26.9 ng/mL, 23.0-34.0, median and 95% CI; p=0.004). The end of therapy response rate was 67%. The main finding was a significant drop in TGF-beta 1 at six months compared to baseline values; this drop de facto predicted the levels reached in the following six months, which were fixed at lower concentrations (37.0 ng/mL, 21.9-43.8 and 27.0 ng/mL, 24.1-44.0 respectively; p<0.009), independently of treatment outcome (three patients were breakthrough, twelve were sustained virological responders (SVRs). During the treatment period none had clinical or biochemical signs of inflammation in other areas. Treatment was followed by a six-month follow-up, at the end of which TGF-beta 1 was increased compared to the previous values, reaching the initial levels in ten SVRs (45 ng/mL, 24.5-52.9). Interestingly, at a longer follow-up, two out of ten SVRs, who displayed the highest values of TGF-beta 1, relapsed. Serum TGF-beta 1 could be used to assess therapeutic outcome and short-term prognosis of HCV-related chronic hepatitis.