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Curr Opin Immunol. 2000 Aug;12(4):403-8.

Protection or damage: a dual role for the virus-specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte response in hepatitis B and C infection?

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Institute of Hepatology, University College London Medical School, London, WC1E 6HX, UK.


During infection with hepatitis B or C viruses, cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) have been implicated as both the mediators of protection and the principal effectors of liver pathology. Recent studies have allowed an investigation of the relationship between virus-specific CTL responses, liver damage and viral replication. In the presence of an efficient virus-specific CTL response, a scenario is emerging where inhibition of viral replication can be independent of liver pathology. We discuss the possibility that an inadequate CTL response--unable to control viral replication - may contribute to liver pathology not only directly but also via the recruitment of non-virus-specific T cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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