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J Leukoc Biol. 2005 Aug;78(2):412-25. Epub 2005 May 13.

Increased Fas ligand expression of CD4+ T cells by HCV core induces T cell-dependent hepatic inflammation.

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  • 1Beirne Carter Center for Immunology Research, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22908, USA.

Abstract

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is associated with a high rate of viral persistence and the development of chronic liver disease. The expression of HCV core protein in T cells has previously been reported to alter T cell activation and has been linked to the development of liver inflammation. However, the molecular and cellular basis for the role of HCV core-expressing T cells in liver inflammation is not understood. Here, using double-transgenic mice of CD2/HCV-core transgenic mice and ovalbumin (OVA)-specific T cell receptor transgenic mice, we demonstrated that in vivo antigenic stimulation (OVA peptide administration) triggers a marked influx of core-expressing, antigen-specific, transgenic CD4+ T cells into the liver of these mice. Phenotypic analysis of the liver-infiltrating T cells revealed high expression levels of CD44 and Fas ligand (FasL). Adoptive transfer of liver-infiltrating, core-expressing CD4+ T cells into severe combined immunodeficiency mice directly demonstrated the capacity of these activated T cells to induce liver inflammation. It is important that anti-FasL antibody treatment of the mice at the time of cell transfer abrogated the liver inflammation induced by core-expressing CD4+ T cells. These findings suggest that activated T lymphocytes expressing elevated levels of FasL may be involved in the bystander killing of hepatocyte, as well as the induction of chronic liver inflammation, by promoting recruitment of proinflammatory cells to the liver.

PMID:
15894587
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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