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J Gen Virol. 2002 Jun;83(Pt 6):1281-9.

Hepatitis B virus surface antigen suppresses the activation of monocytes through interaction with a serum protein and a monocyte-specific receptor.

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  • 1Center for Vaccinology, Department of Clinical Biology, Microbiology and Immunology, Ghent University Hospital, De Pintelaan 185, 9000 Ghent, Belgium.


During hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, high numbers of non-infectious HBV surface antigen (HBsAg) particles are present in circulation. It is shown here that recombinant HBsAg (rHBsAg) particles, which contain the S protein only, bind almost exclusively to monocytes. Attachment of rHBsAg to the THP-1 pre-monocytic cell line occurs upon 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3-induced differentiation. Binding to monocytes is enhanced by a heat-labile serum protein and is inhibited by Ca(2+)/Mg(2+), low pH and an HBsAg-specific monoclonal antibody. Furthermore, it is shown that rHBsAg suppresses lipopolysaccharide- and IL-2-induced production of cytokines. These results suggest the existence of a monocyte-specific receptor, the engagement of which by HBsAg suppresses the activity of these cells.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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