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J Infect Dis. 2009 Aug 15;200(4):619-23. doi: 10.1086/600107.

Association of interleukin-15-induced peripheral immune activation with hepatic stellate cell activation in persons coinfected with hepatitis C virus and HIV.

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Department of Transfusion Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Laboratory of Immunoregulation, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Bethesda, MD 20892-1876, USA.


Hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) mediate hepatitis C virus (HCV)-related liver fibrosis, and increased HSC activation in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/HCV coinfection may be associated with accelerated fibrosis. We examined the level of HSC activation in HIV/HCV-coinfected and HCV-monoinfected subjects and its relationship to the level of activation and gene expression of peripheral immune cells in coinfected subjects. HSC activation levels positively correlated with peripheral CD4+ and CD8+ T cell immune activation and were associated with enhanced interleukin-15 (IL-15) gene expression, suggesting a pathogenic role for IL-15-driven immunomediated hepatic fibrosis. Future strategies that reduce immune activation and HSC activation may delay progression of liver fibrosis.

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