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J Hepatol. 2005 Jan;42(1):61-7.

Comparable functions of plasmacytoid and monocyte-derived dendritic cells in chronic hepatitis C patients and healthy donors.

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Immunology and Virology Department, Chiron Vaccines Research Center, via Fiorentina 1, 53100 Siena, Italy.



Dendritic cells (DCs) play a key role in immune responses through antigen presentation and cytokine secretion. Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is able to escape elimination by the immune system and often establishes a chronic infection. To investigate whether DC dysfunction is involved in this process, we have studied monoycte-derived DCs (Mo-DCs) and plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs), which produce large amounts of IFN-alpha, from chronic HCV patients and healthy donors.


We have assessed TNF-alpha and IFN-alpha production by pDCs using intracellular staining after total PBMCs stimulation with unmethylated CG dinucleotides (CpGs). The induction of allogeneic T cell proliferation by immature Mo-DCs was measured using the MLR assay. The up-regulation of maturation markers and the production of TNF-alpha in response to LPS were analyzed using flow cytometry and ELISA, respectively.


We have detected comparable frequencies of pDCs producing TNF-alpha and IFN-alpha in both chronic HCV patients and healthy donors and we have found that immature Mo-DCs from both patients and donors similarly induce allogeneic T cell proliferation and mature and secrete TNF-alpha in response to LPS.


Our results demonstrate that both pDC and Mo-DCs are not impaired in HCV infected patients.

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