Interleukin-1 production in acute viral hepatitis.
The in vitro production of interleukin-1 in 15 children with acute hepatitis A and five children with acute hepatitis B was determined by measuring lymphocyte activating factor secreted by peripheral blood monocytes in a thymocyte proliferation assay. Aluminium hydroxide induced production of lymphocyte activating factor was significantly lower in patients with acute hepatitis A as well as patients with hepatitis B as compared with healthy control subjects. In both forms of acute viral hepatitis production of lymphocyte activating factor was severely depressed during the first week, increased gradually during the further course of the illness, but did not reach normal concentrations within the first three weeks after onset of the acute symptoms of the disease. No correlation could be found between in vitro production of lymphocyte activating factor and the severity of liver disease as estimated by the rise of serum concentrations of transaminases, bilirubin, or several parameters of acute phase reaction (alpha 1 antitrypsin, C reactive protein, erythrocyte sedimentation rate). The reduced production of interleukin-1, as assessed by determination of lymphocyte activating factor, could explain the only moderate acute phase reaction seen during acute viral hepatitis.