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J Gen Virol. 2006 Jun;87(Pt 6):1439-49.

The immune response during hepatitis B virus infection.

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  • 1The UCL Institute of Hepatology, University College of London, 69-75 Chenies Mews, London WC1E 6HX, UK. a.bertoletti@ucl.ac.uk


Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a major cause of chronic liver inflammation worldwide. Recent knowledge of the virological and immunological events secondary to HBV infection has increased our understanding of the mechanisms involved in viral clearance and persistence. In this review, how the early virological and immunological events might influence the development of a coordinate activation of adaptive immunity necessary to control HBV infection is analysed. The mechanism(s) by which high levels of viral antigens, liver immunological features, regulatory cells and dendritic cell defects might maintain the HBV-specific immunological collapse, typical of chronic hepatitis B patients, is also examined.

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