Background: Some studies have analyzed the relationship between circulating cytokines and cardiovascular risk and some authors pose a threshold at 3.2 pg/mL for a significant increase. Effects of DAAs on circulating cytokines in HCV-infected patients are still unknown.

Methods: We retrospectively evaluated HCV- and HCV-HIV-infected patients who were successfully treated with different IFN-free regimens. We evaluated IL-6, IL-8 and CRP values at baseline (BL), at the end of treatment (EOT) and after 12 weeks of follow-up (FU12).

Results: 60 patients were evaluated. Median levels of IL-6 decreased from 6.5 pg/mL (IQR 3-11.5) to 3.7 (IQR 2.5-7.2, p = 0.09) at EOT and 3.6 (IQR 2.2-4.5, p3.2 pg/mL were 42 (70%) at BL, levels of IL-6 had decreased ≤3.2 pg/ml in 15/42 patients and increased >3.2 pg/ml in 8/17 (p = 0,06); at FU12, levels of IL-6 had decreased ≤3.2 pg/ml in 16/42 patients and increased >3.2 pg/ml in 5/18 (p = 0,01).
Median values of IL-8 decreased from 84.5 pg/ml (IQR 35-225.5) at BL to 39.5 pg/ml (IQR 20-78.5) at EOT (p = 0.05) and to 38.5 pg/ml (IQR 18-83.5) at tFU12 (p < 0.01).
No significant changes in CRP values between BL, EOT or FU12 were observed.

Conclusions: HCV suppression due to DAA treatment is associated with a significant decrease in IL-6 and IL-8 levels in HCV-patients, suggesting that HCV eradication could promote a decrease in systemic immune activation and reduce cardiovascular and metabolic risk in these patients.

Lorenzo Badia
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