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Immunol Rev. 2000 Apr;174:90-7.

Immunobiology of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection: the role of CD4 T cells in HCV infection.

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Blood Research Institute, The Blood Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53201-2178, USA.


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is yet another example of a pathogen that persists in the presence of a readily apparent immune response. As evidence for both humoral and cellular immune responsiveness is quite strong, our studies have begun to examine whether qualitative defects in CD4 T-cell responses to viral antigens may help to explain why HCV is not eliminated in the vast majority of infections. Direct evidence that CD4 T cells play a role in HCV persistence is lacking, but several observations are consistent with this possibility. Importantly, it does not exclude the role of antibody or killer T cells in the immunopathogenesis of HCV infection. In addition, we discuss the consequences of viral mutation and how naturally occurring variants in immunodominant viral epitopes can effectively suppress helper T-cell responses to wild type virus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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