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Immune Netw. 2013 Feb;13(1):25-9. doi: 10.4110/in.2013.13.1.25. Epub 2013 Feb 28.

Ribavirin Does Not Impair the Suppressive Activity of Foxp3(+)CD4(+)CD25(+) Regulatory T Cells.

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1
Laboratory of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Graduate School of Medical Science and Engineering, KAIST, Daejeon 305-701, Korea.

Abstract

Ribavirin is an antiviral drug used in combination with pegylated interferon-α (IFN-α) for the treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Recently, ribavirin was reported to inhibit the suppressive activity of regulatory T (Treg) cells. In the present study, we re-evaluated the effect of ribavirin on Foxp3(+)CD4(+)CD25(+) Treg cells from normal donors. First, we examined the expression of CTLA-4 and CD39, which are known to play a role in the suppressive function of Treg cells. We found that ribavirin treatment did not modulate the expression of CTLA-4 and CD39 in Treg cells. We also studied the effect of ribavirin on Treg cells in the presence of IFN-α; however, the expression of CTLA-4 and CD39 in Treg cells was not changed by ribavirin in the presence of IFN-α. Next, we directly evaluated the effect of ribavirin on the suppressive activity of Treg cells in the standard Treg suppression assay, by co-culturing CFSE-labeled non-Treg CD4(+) T cells with purified Treg cells. We found that ribavirin did not attenuate the suppressive activity of Treg cells. Taken together, while ribavirin reversed Treg cell-mediated suppression of effector T cells in the previous study, we herein demonstrate that ribavirin does not impair the suppressive activity of Treg cells.

KEYWORDS:

Hepatitis C virus; Regulatory T cells; Ribavirin; Suppressive activity

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