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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2009 Mar;66(5):733-56. doi: 10.1007/s00018-008-8270-4.

Immunological determinants of the outcomes from primary hepatitis C infection.

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Department of Infectious Diseases, Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick, NSW 2031, Australia.


Individuals infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) have two possible outcomes of infection, clearance or persistent infection, determined by a complex set of virus-host interactions. The focus of this review is the host mechanisms that facilitate clearance. Strong evidence points to characteristics of the cellular immune response as the key determinants of outcome, with evidence for the coordinated effects of the timing, magnitude, and breadth, as well as the intra-hepatic localisation of CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses being critical. The recent discovery of viral evasion strategies targeting innate immunity suggests that interferon-stimulated gene products are also important. A growing body of evidence has implicated polymorphisms in both innate and adaptive immune response genes as determinants of viral clearance in individuals with acute HCV.

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