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Cyclosporine inhibits hepatitis C virus in vitro

Liver transplant patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) achieved significantly better long-term viral response when taking the immunosuppressive agent Cyclosporine along with interferon-ribavirin combination therapy. Cyclosporine also showed efficacy against Hepatitis C virus in vitro.

The results of this study appear in the January 2006 issue of Liver Transplantation, the official journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) and the International Liver Transplantation Society (ILTS). The journal is published on behalf of the societies by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and is available online via Wiley InterScience (http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/livertransplantation).

Hepatitis C always recurs after liver transplantation, often damaging the new organ and rendering patients ineligible for retransplantation. To address this problem, patients with hepatitis C often undergo interferon-ribavirin combination therapy after receiving a liver transplant in hopes of a sustained virologic response. At the same time, of course, the patients must take immunosuppressive agents to guard against transplant rejection.

The most commonly used anti-rejection medication is Tacrolimus, although Cyclosporine is also used. The latter drug has been shown to have anti-viral activity against HIV, herpes simplex and vaccinia virus, leading researchers to speculate it might also inhibit hepatitis C virus. To examine this hypothesis, they analyzed the impact of the drug in a liver transplant population. They also studied its effect on hepatitis C in vitro.

For the in vitro study, the researchers, led by Roberto J. Firpi, M.D. of the University of Florida, treated the HCV replicon line, GSB1, with varying doses of Cyclosporine for 48 hours and examined the results. They found that Cyclosporine reduced HCV replication by 20 percent, compared to no re
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Source:John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


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