Mohammed N. Al-Ahdal (a Bio-Pharmacist) has completed his Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1985. He is the now the Chairman of the Department of Infection and Immunity at King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where he is also a Principal Scientist. He is a Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the College of Medicine of Alfaisal University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and an Adjunct Professor at Sassari University in Italy and at Brunel University in the U.K. He has published more than 105 papers in reputed journals and serving as an editorial board member of some scientific journals


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a leading cause of chronic liver disease worldwide. Recent studies have demonstrated polymorphisms near the interleukin 28B (IL-28B) gene could predict the response to Peg-IFN-a/RBV combination therapy in HCV-infected patients. The aim of the study was to correlate the serum level of IL28B in HCV-infected patients with virus genotype/subgenotype and disease progression. IL28B Serum level was detected using IL28B-specific ELISA kit. Variations at five single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) (rs8105790, rs8099917, rs7248668, rs12980275 and rs12979860) in IL28B gene region were studied and they were found to be strongly associated with HCV infection when healthy control group was compared to HCV-infected patients with all p values <0.0001. Functional analysis revealed that subjects carrying rs8099917-GG genotype had higher serum level of IL28B than those with GT or TT genotypes (p = 0.04). Also, patients who were presented with cirrhosis (Cirr) only or with cirrhosis plus hepatocellular carcinoma (Cirr+HCC) had higher levels of serum IL28B when compared to chronic HCV-infected patients (P=0.005 and 0.003, respectively). No significant association was found when serum levels of IL28B were compared to virus genotypes/subgenotypes. In conclusion, this study indicates that variation at SNP rs8099917 could predict the concentration serum levels of IL28B in HCV-infected patients. Furthermore, IL28B serum level might be useful as a marker for the development and progression of HCV-associated diseases.