Send to

Choose Destination
J Virol. 2008 Sep;82(17):8579-91. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01022-08. Epub 2008 Jul 2.

Intrahepatic expression of genes affiliated with innate and adaptive immune responses immediately after invasion and during acute infection with woodchuck hepadnavirus.

Author information

Division of BioMedical Science, Molecular Virology and Hepatology Research Group, Discipline of Laboratory Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Health Science Centre, Memorial University, St John's, Newfoundland, Canada.


The importance of effective immune responses in recovery from acute hepadnaviral hepatitis has been demonstrated. However, there is no conclusive delineation of virological and immunological events occurring in the liver immediately after hepadnavirus invasion and during the preacute phase of infection. These very early events might be of primary importance in determining the recovery or progression to chronic hepatitis and the intrinsic hepadnaviral propensity to persist. In this study, applying the woodchuck model of acute hepatitis B, the hepatic kinetics of hepadnavirus replication and activation of genes encoding cytokines, cytotoxicity effectors, and immune cell markers were quantified in sequential liver biopsies collected from 1 h postinoculation onward by sensitive real-time cDNA amplification assays. The results revealed that hepadnavirus replication is established in the liver as early as 1 hour after infection. In 3 to 6 h, significantly augmented intrahepatic transcription of gamma interferon and interleukin-12 were evident, suggesting activation of antigen-presenting cells. In 48 to 72 h, NK and NKT cells were activated and virus replication was transiently but significantly reduced, implying that this early innate response is at least partially successful in limiting virus propagation. Nonetheless, T cells were activated 4 to 5 weeks later when hepatitis became histologically evident. Collectively, our data demonstrate that virus replication is initiated and the innate response activated in the liver soon after exposure to a liver-pathogenic dose of hepadnavirus. Nevertheless, this response is unable to prompt a timely adaptive T-cell response, in contrast to infections caused by other viral pathogens.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center