Oncostatin M Induces IFITM1 Expression to Inhibit Hepatitis B Virus Replication Via JAK-STAT Signaling

Cell Mol Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2024;17(2):219-235. doi: 10.1016/j.jcmgh.2023.10.003. Epub 2023 Oct 23.


Background & aims: Functional cure is achieved by a limited number of patients with chronic hepatitis B (CHB) after nucleotide analogue(s) and interferon treatment. It is urgent to develop therapies that can help a larger proportion of patients achieve functional cure. The present study was designed to explore the anti-hepatitis B virus (HBV) potency of interleukin-6 family cytokines and to characterize the underlying mechanisms of the cytokine displaying the highest anti-HBV potency.

Methods: HBV-infected cells were used to screened the anti-HBV potency of interleukin-6 family cytokines. The concentration of oncostatin M (OSM) in patients with chronic HBV infection was examined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The underlying mechanism of OSM anti-HBV was explored through RNA-seq. C57BL/6 mice injected with rAAV8-1.3HBV were used to explore the suppression effect of OSM on HBV in vivo.

Results: OSM is the most effective of the interleukin-6 family cytokines for suppression of HBV replication (percentage of average inhibition: hepatitis B surface antigen, 34.44%; hepatitis B e antigen, 32.52%; HBV DNA, 61.57%). Hepatitis B e antigen-positive CHB patients with high OSM levels had lower hepatitis B surface antigen and hepatitis B e antigen than those with low levels. OSM activated JAK-STAT signaling pathway promoting the formation of STAT1-IRF9 transcription factor complex. Following this, OSM increased the expression of various genes with known functions in innate and adaptive immunity, which was higher expression in patients with CHB in immune clearance phase than in immune tolerance phase (data from GEO: GSE65359). Interferon-induced transmembrane protein 1, one of the most differentially expressed genes, was identified as an HBV restriction factor involved in OSM-mediated anti-HBV effect. In vivo, we also found OSM significantly inhibited HBV replication and induced expression of antiviral effector interferon-induced transmembrane protein 1.

Conclusions: Our study shows that OSM remodels the immune response against HBV and exerts potent anti-HBV activity, supporting its further development as a potential therapy for treating CHB.

Keywords: Hepatitis B Virus; Interferon-Induced Transmembrane Protein 1; Interleukin-6 Family Cytokines; JAK-STAT Signaling; Oncostatin M.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens
  • Hepatitis B e Antigens
  • Hepatitis B virus* / genetics
  • Hepatitis B* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Interferons
  • Interleukin-6
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Oncostatin M / pharmacology
  • Signal Transduction
  • Virus Replication


  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens
  • Oncostatin M
  • Hepatitis B e Antigens
  • Interleukin-6
  • Interferons