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J Immunol. 1999 May 1;162(9):5584-91.

Impaired allostimulatory capacity of peripheral blood dendritic cells recovered from hepatitis C virus-infected individuals.

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  • 1First Department of Medicine and Department of General Medicine, Osaka University Medical School, Suita, Japan.


In hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, Th responses are implicated in the pathogenesis of liver disease. The dendritic cell (DC) is the most potent activator of CD4 T cells for supporting Th1 differentiation. To clarify the roles of DC of HCV-infected individuals in the development of CD4 T cell responses, we generated peripheral DC with GM-CSF and IL-4 from 24 chronic hepatitis C patients and 14 healthy donors. We then compared their potentials for stimulating allogeneic CD4 T cells, autologous CD4 T cells against influenza A or HCV core Ags, and cytokine production. The DC from the patients (HCV-DC) expressed lower degrees of CD86 than DC from the donors (N-DC), whereas no difference was found in the HLA molecules and other costimulators. HCV-DC stimulated allogeneic T cells less than N-DC; however, influenza A- or core-pulsed HCV-DC retained the potentials for autologous T cell proliferation. In allogeneic DC/T cell cultures, the IFN-gamma levels with HCV-DC were lower than those with N-DC, which may be related to the low expressions of IL-12 p35 and p40 transcripts in HCV-DC. The stimulation with LPS disclosed that HCV-DC is less potent in IL-12 p70 production than N-DC. In the autologous cultures, the pulsing of the Ags to HCV-DC increased the IL-12 p40 and IFN-gamma production and up-regulated the transcription of both IL-12 subunits. Exogenous IL-2 or IL-12 restored the low allogeneic T cell proliferation with HCV-DC in a dose-dependent manner. Therefore, low expression of CD86 and/or IL-12 is crucially involved in the low allostimulatory capacity of HCV-DC. Low IL-12 and low IFN-gamma milieu with HCV-DC on encounters with alloantigens may impede Th1 polarization.

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