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J Hepatol. 2007 Nov;47(5):632-41. Epub 2007 May 24.

The role of CCR5/CXCR3 expressing CD8+ cells in liver damage and viral control during persistent hepatitis C virus infection.

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Liver Research Unit, Hospital Universitario Guadalajara, University of Alcalá, Spain.



CXCR3 and CCR5 play a major role in recruiting cytotoxic T cells (Tc) and secreting secondary type 1 cytokines (Tc1) in the liver. HCV could impair their expression as a survival mechanism. The role of these chemokine receptors on CD8+ cells in chronic hepatitis C is analysed.


Serum, chemokines, peripheral blood and intrahepatic lymphocytes from chronic hepatitis C patients were studied. CXCR3/CCR5 expressing CD8+ cells were quantified by flow-cytometry. Serum chemokines concentration (CXCL10/CCL3) was measured by ELISA. Basal data were correlated with liver inflammation. Longitudinal data were obtained during treatment and correlated with virologic response.


CCR5/CXCR3 expressing CD8+ cells were enriched in the liver and correlated with inflammation. Chronic HCV patients presented the same frequency of CCR5(high)/CXCR3(high) expressing CD8+ cells in peripheral blood as in healthy controls but higher serum concentration of CXCL10/CCL3. Treatment with PEG-interferon alpha-2b plus ribavirin increased CCR5(high)/CXCR3(high) expressing CD8+ cells frequency in peripheral blood and decreased CXCL10/CCL3 serum concentration. Increase in CXCR3(high) expressing CD8+ cells after 24 weeks of treatment was correlated with SVR.


In chronic hepatitis C, anti-viral treatment induces an increase in CD8+ cells expressing chemokine receptors associated with Tc1 response and a reduction in their ligands. Achievement of viral control is associated with an increase in CXCR3(high) expressing CD8+ cells during treatment.

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