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Lancet. 1995 Oct 14;346(8981):1006-7.

Possible mechanism involving T-lymphocyte response to non-structural protein 3 in viral clearance in acute hepatitis C virus infection.

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Institute for Immunology, Klinikum Grosshadern, University of Munich, Germany.


In acute hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection only 20-50% of patients spontaneously clear the virus. To characterise the immune reaction during that phase we studied the response of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) to the recombinant HCV proteins core, non-structural protein 3 (NS3), NS4, and NS5 in 14 patients with acute hepatitis C. All eight patients with self-limited disease compared with two of six with evolving chronic infection showed an NS3- specific PBMC response (p = 0.015). Of 65 patients with established chronic hepatitis C, five showed a PBMC response to NS3. NS3-specific CD4 T-cell clones from patients with self-limited infection predominantly produced interferon-gamma and may thus support cytotoxic effector mechanisms important for viral clearance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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