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Expansion of hepatitis C-specific CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells after viral clearance: A mechanism to limit collateral damage?

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Fai NgORCiD



BACKGROUND: Data from rodent models suggest that a subpopulation of CD4(+) T cells, characterized by the constitutive expression of CD25, play a key role in regulating many immune responses. Human CD4(+)CD25(+) T cells also appear to possess a regulatory function, but their role in infections is not fully defined. OBJECTIVES: We sought to explore the possibility of a role for CD4(+)CD25(+) T cells in controlling immunity to hepatitis C virus (HCV). We hypothesized that CD4(+)CD25(+) T cells might account for the paucity of immune responses measurable in chronically viremic patients by suppressing the immune responses to HCV antigens. METHODS: We compared the responses of PBMCs to 3 different recombinant HCV antigens before and after depletion of CD25(+) cells in 15 chronically viremic patients, 14 nonviremic HCV antibody-positive subjects, and 14 healthy control subjects. We also tested the ability of CD4(+)CD25(+) T cells purified from HLA-matched viremic or nonviremic blood to suppress the responses of HCV epitope-specific T-cell clones. RESULTS: To our surprise, depletion of peripheral blood CD25(+) cells led to a pronounced increase in proliferation of and IFN-gamma production by PBMCs only in nonviremic patients. Furthermore, the CD4(+)CD25(+) T cells purified from HLA-matched nonviremic blood (in contrast to CD4(+)CD25(+) T cells isolated from chronically viremic blood) inhibited the responses of HCV epitope-specific T-cell clones. CONCLUSION: HCV-specific CD4(+)CD25(+) regulatory T cells appear to accompany successful viral clearance.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Godkin A, Ng WF, Gallagher K, Betts G, Thomas HC, Lechler RI

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology

Year: 2008

Volume: 121

Issue: 5

Pages: 1277-1284

ISSN (print): 0091-6749

ISSN (electronic): 1097-6825

Publisher: Mosby


DOI: 10.1016/j.jaci.2008.01.070

Notes: Journal Article United States


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