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Cell Immunol. 2011;269(2):104-14. doi: 10.1016/j.cellimm.2011.03.011. Epub 2011 Mar 17.

Bim-mediated apoptosis and PD-1/PD-L1 pathway impair reactivity of PD1(+)/CD127(-) HCV-specific CD8(+) cells targeting the virus in chronic hepatitis C virus infection.

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Translational Hepatology Unit, Guadalajara University Hospital, University of Alcalá, Donante de Sangre st., 19002 Guadalajara, Spain.


PD-1 molecule promotes anergy and IL-7 receptor (CD127) induces an anti-apoptotic effect on T cells. Correlation between PD-1/CD127 phenotype and hepatitis C virus (HCV)-specific CD8(+) cell reactivity in resolved infection (RI) after treatment and persistent HCV-infection (PI) was analysed. Directly ex vivo, PD-1 and CD127 expression on HCV-specific CD8(+) cells displayed a positive and negative correlation, respectively with viraemia. Proliferation after stimulation on PD-1(-)/CD127(+) cells from RI cases was preserved, while it was impaired on PD-1(+)/CD127(-) cells from PI patients. PD1(+)/CD127(+) population was observed in PI, and these maintained expansion ability but they did not target the virus. Frequency of PI cases with HCV-specific CD8(+) cell proliferation increased after anti-PD-L1 and anti-apoptotic treatment. Bim expression on HCV-specific CD8(+) cells from PI patients was enhanced. In conclusion, during chronic HCV infection non-reactive HCV-specific CD8(+) cells targeting the virus are PD-1(+)/CD127(-)/Bim(+) and, blocking apoptosis and PD-1/PD-L1 pathway on them enhances in vitro reactivity.

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