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J Virol. 2003 Jan;77(1):68-76.

CD8(+) T cells mediate viral clearance and disease pathogenesis during acute hepatitis B virus infection.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Experimental Medicine, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California 92037, USA.


Although the CD4(+)- and CD8(+)-T-cell responses to the hepatitis B virus (HBV) are thought to be crucial for the control of HBV infection, the relative contribution of each T-cell subset as an effector of viral clearance is not known. To examine this question, we monitored the course of HBV infection in control, CD4-depleted, and CD8-depleted chimpanzees. Our results demonstrate that CD8(+) cells are the main effector cells responsible for viral clearance and disease pathogenesis during acute HBV infection, and they suggest that viral clearance is mediated by both noncytolytic and cytolytic effector functions of the CD8(+)-T-cell response.

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