A genetic variant close to a gene called interferon regulatory factor 6 (IRF6) may help to predict those multiple sclerosis (MS) patients most at risk of liver injury while using interferon-beta therapies, a study reports.
The study, “Common variation near IRF6 is associated with IFN-β-induced liver injury in multiple sclerosis” was published in the journal Nature Genetics.
Interferon-beta works with an individual’s own interferons — naturally occurring molecules — that exist in the body to reduce inflammation.
Interferon-beta — a treatment whose brand names include Rebif, Avonex, and Plegridy — remains one of most widely used of MS therapies, especially prescribed to people with relapsing-remitting MS. However, this type of treatment is linked to a potential for liver injury.
Specifically, up to 60 percent of MS patients treated with interferon-beta therapies develop abnormalities in the liver (like changes in liver enzymes, usually mild). But a small number of them will experience therapy-induced liver injury.
Researchers have no way to predict MS patients at risk of liver damage linked to interferon beta treatment. Rather, these patients are monitored and undergo regular blood tests to detect abnormal liver enzyme levels, a potential indicator of organ injury.
“One in 50 people with MS who are treated with interferon-beta, one of the most commonly prescribed MS therapies, will develop abnormally high levels of liver enzymes,” Kaarina Kowalec, a postdoctoral fellow at Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet and study’s first author, said in a press release.
Because previous studies have reported that genomic variation contributes to other forms of drug-induced liver injury, the researchers aimed to identify biomarkers of interferon-beta-induced liver injury via a genome-wide association study. [A gene variant describes any change — benign, disease-causing, or not-yet-known — in the DNA sequences that compose a gene.]
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?