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J Hepatol. 1988 Aug;7(1):21-33.

Cellular immune response to hepatitis B virus antigens. An overview.

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Cattedra Malattie Infettive, Universita' di Parma, Italy.


It has been suggested that the cellular immune response to HBV antigens is responsible for hepatocellular injury in acute and chronic hepatitis B. However, definitive immunological studies have so far been hampered by the lack of appropriate model systems to study HBV antigen-specific T cells. The availability of highly purified and recombinant HBV antigens and of experimental techniques to maintain in continuous growth antigen-specific T cells derived not only from the peripheral blood but also from the liver should allow a better understanding of the fine immunopathogenetical mechanisms involved in viral clearance and liver damage. Whether some important biological characteristics of HBV antigens described in the mouse system, such as the high immunogenicity of the pre-S antigens and the capacity of the nucleocapsid of HBV to be a T cell-dependent and -independent antigen, are relevant to the immunopathogenesis of liver damage during natural HBV infection in man remains to be evaluated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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