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J Hepatol. 1991 Nov;13(3):310-7.

Hepatitis B virus antigen-specific T-cell activation in patients with acute and chronic hepatitis B.

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Institut für Immunologie, Universität München, Federal Republic of Germany.


Since the hepatitis B virus is noncytopathic, it is generally believed that the individual specific immune response determines the course of infection. The lack of data about hepatitis B virus-specific T-cell reactions in acute infection led us to investigate the specific cellular immune response of infected individuals in terms of proliferation, and gamma-interferon and lymphotoxin production. Our results demonstrate that peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMNC) from patients with acute and chronic hepatitis B respond weakly to HBsAg. In contrast, patients with acute hepatitis show a vigorous response to the nucleocapsid antigen (HBcAg) in terms of proliferation and lymphokine production, while only few chronic virus carriers gave a proliferative response. Either of the antigens could activate lymphocytes to produce gamma-interferon and lymphotoxin, cytokines which may modulate antiviral immune response.

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