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J Hepatol. 2002 Jul;37(1):101-8.

Decrease in hepatic CD56(+) T cells and V alpha 24(+) natural killer T cells in chronic hepatitis C viral infection.

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1
Education and Research Centre, St. Vincent's University Hospital, Elm Park, Dublin 4, Ireland.

Abstract

BACKGROUND/AIMS:

The intrahepatic immune system is likely to play a key role in determining the outcome of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. The hepatic lymphocyte repertoire is characterised by high CD8/CD4 T cell ratios and large numbers of gamma delta T cells, natural killer (NK) cells, NK T cells and NK receptor-positive T cells. It is not known which of these populations contribute to immunity against HCV or immune pathology.

METHODS:

To explore the relative contributions of lymphocyte subpopulations, we have compared the intrahepatic lymphocyte repertoires and cytokine expression in 13 patients with mild chronic hepatitis C infection, 14 with end-stage hepatitis C cirrhosis and five histologically normal livers by flow cytometry and immunohistochemistry.

RESULTS:

CD4(+) T cells bearing alpha beta T cell receptors (TCR) were significantly expanded in livers with chronic HCV infection while CD56(+) alpha beta T cells and V alpha 24 TCR-positive T cells were significantly depleted. Expanded CD4(+)T cells were predominantly Th1 cells, producing interferon-gamma but not interleukin-4.

CONCLUSIONS:

Failure to resolve HCV infection may be due to deficient innate and/or memory immune responses, while Th1 cells may mediate immune pathology.

PMID:
12076868
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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