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J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2012 Feb;27(2):223-30. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1746.2011.06940.x.

Immunopathogenesis and prognostic immune markers of chronic hepatitis B virus infection.

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The Institute of Translational Hepatology, The Research Center for Biological Therapy, Beijing 302 Hospital, Beijing, China.


Host immune responses induced by hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection not only substantially drive disease progression, but also significantly influence efficacy of antiviral treatments in HBV-infected individuals. Therefore, it is important to fully understand the course of immune pathogenesis and to find efficient immunological markers that can predict the disease progression of chronic HBV infection. This review introduces the current progress in clinical immunology and analyzes the mechanisms of antiviral effects and liver injury, which are induced by both innate and adaptive immune responses. The recently identified immunological markers indicated to be closely correlated with disease progression and antiviral efficacy during HBV infection are also summarized. Careful monitoring of these immune markers may help physicians to make decisions on when to begin or withdraw antiviral drugs, or to formulate the prognosis of acute-on-chronic liver failure (ACLF) patients in the clinic. Finally, this review highlights some novel therapeutic strategies to modulate host immunity that have been proposed to sustain antiviral control of chronic HBV infection, as well as the challenges that we are presently facing in the field.

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