IFN-γ: A Crucial Player in the Fight Against HBV Infection?

Immune Netw. 2023 Jun 15;23(4):e30. doi: 10.4110/in.2023.23.e30. eCollection 2023 Aug.


About 0.8 million people die because of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection each year. In around 5% of infected adults, the immune system is ineffective in countering HBV infection, leading to chronic hepatitis B (CHB). CHB is associated with hepatocellular carcinoma, which can lead to patient death. Unfortunately, although current treatments against CHB allow control of HBV infection, they are unable to achieve complete eradication of the virus. Cytokines of the IFN family represent part of the innate immune system and are key players in virus elimination. IFN secretion induces the expression of interferon stimulated genes, producing proteins that have antiviral properties and that are essential to cell-autonomous immunity. IFN-α is commonly used as a therapeutic approach for CHB. In addition, IFN-γ has been identified as the main IFN family member responsible for HBV eradication during acute infection. In this review, we summarize the key evidence gained from cellular or animal models of HBV replication or infection concerning the potential anti-HBV roles of IFN-γ with a particular focus on some IFN-γ-inducible genes.

Keywords: Chronic infection; Hepatitis B virus; Innate immunity; Interferon-gamma; Interferon-stimulated genes.

Publication types

  • Review