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Hepatol Int. 2016 Jul;10(4):594-601. doi: 10.1007/s12072-015-9650-0. Epub 2016 Feb 26.

The dynamic changes of circulating invariant natural killer T cells during chronic hepatitis B virus infection.

Author information

1
Laboratory of Cellular Immunity, Shanghai Key Laboratory of Traditional Chinese Clinical Medicine, Shuguang Hospital, Affiliated to Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai, People's Republic of China.
2
Department of Hepatopathy, Shuguang Hospital, Affiliated to Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 528 Zhangheng Road, Shanghai, 201203, People's Republic of China.
3
Department of Infectious Diseases, Changhai Hospital, Second Military Medical University, Shanghai, 200433, People's Republic of China. leo_lee66@126.com.
4
Laboratory of Cellular Immunity, Shanghai Key Laboratory of Traditional Chinese Clinical Medicine, Shuguang Hospital, Affiliated to Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai, People's Republic of China. gao251149@gmail.com.
5
Department of Hepatopathy, Shuguang Hospital, Affiliated to Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 528 Zhangheng Road, Shanghai, 201203, People's Republic of China. gao251149@gmail.com.

Abstract

AIM:

The protective role of invariant natural killer T cells (iNKTs) against hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection remains controversial. We sought to clarify the role of peripheral iNKT cells during chronic HBV infection.

METHODS:

Sixty patients with chronic HBV infection were categorized into an immune tolerance phase (HBV-IT) (n = 16), an immune clearance phase (HBV-IC) (n = 19) and an inactive carrier phase (HBV-IA) (n = 25). Twenty healthy individuals were enrolled as healthy controls. Another 21 HBeAg-positive patients were administrated with entecavir (0.5 mg/day) for 6 months. The percentages of circulating iNKT cells and their IFN-γ and IL-4 expression levels were examined by flow cytometry. The relationships between serum HBV DNA, ALT levels, the percentages of iNKT cells, and their IFN-γ and IL-4 levels were analyzed.

RESULTS:

Compared to healthy controls, the percentage of iNKT cells decreased in HBV-IT, but increased in HBV-IC and HBV-IA. Circulating IFN-γ-producing iNKT cells gradually increased, whereas IL-4-producing iNKT cells gradually decreased from HBV-IT stage to HBV-IC and HBV-IA stages. The frequency of iNKT cells and their IFN-γ levels were reversely correlated with viral load. The levels of IL-4 expressed by iNKT cells were positively correlated to viral load and the serum ALT levels. After anti-virus therapy, the percentage of IFN-γ-producing iNKT cells increased while the percentage of IL-4-producing iNKT cells decreased.

CONCLUSIONS:

During chronic HBV infection, the percentages of peripheral iNKT cells and its cytokines expressions of IFN-γ and IL-4 showed dynamic changes. The expression levels of IFN-γ and IL-4 were correlated with the clearance of HBV and liver injury.

KEYWORDS:

Chronic HBV infection; IFN-γ; IL-4; iNKTs

PMID:
26924524
DOI:
10.1007/s12072-015-9650-0
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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