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J Infect Dis. 1989 Aug;160(2):209-17.

Liver-derived cytotoxic T cells in hepatitis A virus infection.

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Department of Medical Virology, University of Tübingen, FRG.


An autologous in vitro model was developed to analyze the immunologic cause of liver tissue injury during hepatitis A virus (HAV) infection. Human T lymphocytes infiltrating the livers of two patients with acute HAV infection were isolated from liver biopsy cores, cloned, and expanded in vitro. Procedures using a cell culture system with HAV-infected autologous skin fibroblasts demonstrated that 42% and 53% of the liver-infiltrating CD8+ clones were HAV-specific and that they kill HAV-infected skin fibroblasts in a human leukocyte antigen-restricted manner. Data show virus-specific killing by liver-infiltrating T lymphocytes in man and support the hypothesis that liver cell injury in acute HAV infection is mediated by HAV-specific CD8+ T lymphocytes and is not caused by a cytopathic effect of the virus itself.

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