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J Virol. 2005 Mar;79(5):3038-51.

Reduced hepatitis B virus (HBV)-specific CD4+ T-cell responses in human immunodeficiency virus type 1-HBV-coinfected individuals receiving HBV-active antiretroviral therapy.

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Infectious Diseases Unit, Alfred Hospital, Commercial Rd., Melbourne, Victoria 3004, Australia.


Functional hepatitis B virus (HBV)-specific T cells are significantly diminished in individuals chronically infected with HBV compared to individuals with self-limiting HBV infection or those on anti-HBV therapy. In individuals infected with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), coinfection with HBV is associated with an increased risk of worsening liver function following antiviral therapy and of more rapid HBV disease progression. Total HBV-specific T-cell responses in subjects with diverse genetic backgrounds were characterized by using a library of 15-mer peptides overlapping by 11 amino acids and spanning all HBV proteins. The magnitude and breadth of CD4(+) and CD8(+) T-cell responses to HBV in peripheral blood were examined by flow cytometry to detect gamma interferon production following stimulation with HBV peptide pools. Chronic HBV carriers (n = 34) were studied, including individuals never treated for HBV infection (n = 7), HBV-infected individuals receiving anti-HBV therapy (n = 13), and HIV-1-HBV-coinfected individuals receiving anti-HBV therapy (n = 14). CD4(+) and CD8(+) HBV-specific T-cell responses were more frequently detected and the CD8(+) T-cell responses were of greater magnitude and breadth in subjects on anti-HBV treatment than in untreated chronic HBV carriers. There was a significant inverse correlation between detection of a HBV-specific T-cell response and HBV viral load. HBV-specific CD4(+) and CD8(+) T-cell responses were significantly (fivefold) reduced compared with HIV-specific responses. Although, the frequency and breadth of HBV-specific CD8(+) T-cell responses were comparable in the monoinfected and HIV-1-HBV-coinfected groups, HBV-specific CD4(+) T-cell responses were significantly reduced in HIV-1-HBV-coinfected individuals. Therefore, HIV-1 infection has a significant and specific effect on HBV-specific T-cell immunity.

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