J Korean Med Sci.  1999 Apr;14(2):175-181. 10.3346/jkms.1999.14.2.175.

Expression of Th1 and Th2 type cytokines responding to HBsAg and HBxAg in chronic hepatitis B patients

  • 1Department of Microbiology, Ajou University School of Medicine, Suwon, Korea. millina@madang.ajou.ac.kr


The cytokine pattern on viral antigen recognition is believed to exert a profound influence on the resolution of viral infections and viral clearance. This study was initiated to investigate whether a cytokine imbalance oriented toward Th2 type response plays a role in chronic hepatitis B. Cytokine profiles of peripheral blood mononuclear cells associated with chronic hepatitis B were analysed by RT-PCR. Upon HBsAg stimulation, expression of IFN-gamma, IL-2, IL-4, and IL-10 was detected in 41%, 8%, 41%, and 50% of the patients, respectively. Among these cytokines, the expression of IFN-gamma was associated with high levels of serum AST/ALT. However, we could not prove that Th2 type cytokines had a protective effect on hepatocytes. Upon HBxAg stimulation, there was no recognizable association of cytokine patterns with AST/ALT levels. In conclusion, production of a Th1 cytokine, IFN-gamma, by HBsAg-reactive cells was associated with hepatocyte damage in chronic hepatitis B, while no counteracting effect of Th2 cytokines produced by those cells was observed.


Hepatitis B virus; Hepatitis B surface antigen; Cytokines; Hepatitis B, chronic

MeSH Terms

Hepatitis B Surface Antigens/pharmacology
Hepatitis B Surface Antigens/immunology*
Hepatitis B, Chronic/immunology*
Interferon Type II/genetics
Interferon Type II/biosynthesis
Leukocytes, Mononuclear/immunology
Recombinant Fusion Proteins/pharmacology
Recombinant Fusion Proteins/immunology
Th1 Cells/immunology*
Th1 Cells/drug effects
Th2 Cells/immunology*
Th2 Cells/drug effects
Full Text Links
  • JKMS
export Copy
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
Similar articles
Copyright © 2023 by Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors. All rights reserved.     E-mail: koreamed@kamje.or.kr