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Am J Infect Control. 2009 Jun;37(5):426-429. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2008.08.003. Epub 2009 Jan 19.

Evidence of hepatitis C virus-specific interferon gamma-positive T cells in health care workers in an infectious disease department.

Author information

1
Department of Infectious Disease and Immunology, Hospital D. Cotugno, Naples, Italy. Electronic address: alex.perrel@virgilio.it.
2
Department of Infectious Disease and Immunology, Hospital D. Cotugno, Naples, Italy.
3
Department of Immunology, School of Medicine, G.D'Annunzio University, Chieti, Italy.
4
Infectious Disease Department, G.D'Annunzio University, Chieti, Italy.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Few studies are available on possible hepatitis C virus (HCV)-specific T-cell immune response in health care workers (HCWs) involved in the care of patients with HCV infection. We aimed to investigate whether a HCV-specific interferon (IFN)-gamma T-cell response, known to be involved in infection resolution, was present in those HCWs involved in the management of patients with persistent HCV infection.

METHODS:

Our study involved 30 subjects, classified as group A (20 consecutive patients, 16 males and 4 females, with histologically proven chronic hepatitis), or group B (10 HCWs, 7 males and 3 females, with at least 7 years of health care experience and HCV-RNA and anti-HCV negative). As a control group, we used 10 blood samples from healthy donors at a blood donor center (group C). HCV-RNA was measured by real-time polymerase chain reaction. Blood samples (at least 35 mL) were collected from all group A and group B subjects in our hospital. Specific IFN-gamma was stimulated with HCV pool peptides (core, 2 microg/mL), with influenza Mp peptides used as a positive control.

RESULTS:

Levels of HCV-specific IFN-gamma-positive cells were higher in the HCWs (group B) compared with the infected patients (group A) and healthy blood donors (group C) (Mann-Whitney U test, P < .001).

CONCLUSION:

A clinically silent persistent exposure to HCV, through some as-yet undetermined mechanism, may induce a virus-specific IFN-gamma-producing CD8(+) T-cell response in healthy aviremic HCWs. This finding suggests that possible unapparent parenteral routes may stimulate host defenses with no evidence of hepatitis.

PMID:
19155099
DOI:
10.1016/j.ajic.2008.08.003
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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