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Gastroenterology. 2006 Mar;130(3):868-82.

Polyclonal T-cell responses to cytochrome P450IID6 are associated with disease activity in autoimmune hepatitis type 2.

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Institute of Liver Studies, King's College London School of Medicine at King's College Hospital, Denmark Hill, London, United Kingdom.



Autoimmune hepatitis type 2 (AIH-2), a severe juvenile liver disorder of unknown etiology and pathogenesis, is characterized by liver-kidney microsomal antibody type 1 targeting cytochrome P450IID6 (CYP2D6) and is associated to HLA DRB1*07. Although CYP2D6 B-cell reactivity has been extensively characterized, little is known about CYP2D6-specific T-cell responses. The aim of the present study was to characterize anti-CYP2D6 cellular immune responses and their possible pathogenic role in patients with AIH-2.


We investigated T-cell reactivity against 61 overlapping peptides spanning the full CYP2D6 protein using ex vivo cultures obtained at diagnosis, remission, and relapse. Moreover, CYP2D6-specific T-cell reactivity was investigated in the context of HLA restriction, peptide-binding affinity to HLA DRB1*07, cytokine profile, disease specificity, and clinical course.


Proliferative responses to CYP2D6 cluster to 7 antigenic regions in DRB1*07 and to 4 regions in non-DRB1*07 patients. Whereas distinct peptides induce production of interferon gamma, interleukin-4, or interleukin-10, peptides inducing interferon-gamma and proliferation overlap. There is also an overlap between sequences inducing T- and B-cell responses. The breadth (number of epitopes) and intensity (quantity of cytokine produced) of the T-cell response are directly correlated to disease activity (biochemical and histologic markers).


These data imply that the T-cell response to CYP2D6 in AIH-2 is polyclonal, involves multiple effector types targeting different epitopes, and is associated with hepatocyte damage, knowledge that should form the basis for a more refined therapeutic approach.

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