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J Infect Dis. 2010 Dec 1;202(11):1671-5. doi: 10.1086/656777. Epub 2010 Oct 19.

Circulating plasmacytoid dendritic cells in acutely infected patients with hepatitis C virus genotype 4 are normal in number and phenotype.

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Liver Disease Research Unit, National Hepatology and Tropical Medicine Research Institute, Aim Shams University, Cairo, Egypt.


The incidence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 4 infection in Egypt provides a unique opportunity to study the innate immune response to symptomatic acute HCV infection. We investigated whether plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) are activated as a result of HCV infection. We demonstrate that, even during symptomatic acute infection, circulating pDCs maintained a similar precursor frequency and resting phenotype, compared with pDCs in healthy individuals. Moreover, stimulation with a Toll-like receptor 9 agonist resulted in an intact inflammatory response. These data support the growing consensus that pDCs are not directly activated by HCV and therefore are viable targets for immunotherapy throughout HCV infection.

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