Send to

Choose Destination
J Mol Med (Berl). 1996 Oct;74(10):583-8.

The role of hepatitis C virus specific CD4+ T lymphocytes in acute and chronic hepatitis C.

Author information

Medizinische Klinik Il, Klinikum Grosshadern, Munich, Germany.


Since the discovery of hepatitis C virus it has become clear that chronic hepatitis C is a major health problem throughout the world. Because antiviral agents are of limited value in the treatment of chronic hepatitis C, research has focused on the antiviral immune response for the development of both a protective vaccine and effective immunotherapies for established chronic infection. Antiviral antibodies are present in almost all patients with chronic hepatitis C but do not seem to be virus neutralizing, probably due to the high mutational rate of viral envelope proteins. Studies on the antiviral T cell response have revealed the presence of virus-specific CD4+ helper and CD8+ cytotoxic T cells in a substantial proportion of patients with chronic hepatitis C. Recent studies describe an association between strong CD4+ T helper cell activity to certain hepatitis C virus antigens and a self-limited course of acute hepatitis C and possibly also a sustained response to treatment with interferon-alpha. Therapeutic manipulation of the virus-specific T cell response may thus develop into a new approach for prevention and treatment of hepatitis C virus infection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center