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J Infect Dis. 2001 Oct 15;184(8):972-82. Epub 2001 Sep 13.

Specific cellular immune response and cytokine patterns in patients coinfected with hepatitis C virus and Schistosoma mansoni.

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Department of Internal Medicine II, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany.


Patients coinfected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) and Schistosoma mansoni show high incidence of viral persistence and accelerated fibrosis. To determine whether immunological mechanisms are responsible for this alteration in the natural history of HCV, the HCV-specific peripheral CD4(+) T cell responses and cytokines were analyzed in patients with chronic hepatitis C monoinfection, S. mansoni monoinfection, or HCV and S. mansoni coinfection. An HCV-specific CD4(+) proliferative response to at least 1 HCV antigen was detected in 73.3% of patients infected with HCV, compared with 8.6% of patients coinfected with HCV and S. mansoni. Stimulation with HCV antigens produced a type 1 cytokine profile in patients infected with HCV alone, compared with a type 2 predominance in patients coinfected with HCV and S. mansoni. In contrast, there was no difference in response to schistosomal antigens in patients infected with S. mansoni alone, compared with those coinfected with HCV and S. mansoni. These findings suggest that the inability to generate an HCV-specific CD4(+)/Th1 T cell response plays a role in the persistence and severity of HCV infection in patients with S. mansoni coinfection.

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