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Magnitude of CD8 T-cell responses against hepatitis C virus and severity of hepatitis do not necessarily determine outcomes in acute hepatitis C virus infection.

Hepatology Research
Wiley Blackwell (Blackwell Publishing)
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1111/j.1872-034x.2008.00459.x
  • Biology
  • Medicine


Aim: We investigated the relationship between the magnitude of comprehensive hepatitis C virus (HCV)-specific CD8(+) T-cell responses and the clinical course of acute HCV infection. Methods: Six consecutive patients with acute HCV infection were studied. Analysis of HCV-specific CD8(+) T-cell responses was performed using an interferon-gamma-based enzyme-linked immunospot assay using peripheral CD8(+) T-cells, monocytes and 297 20-mer synthetic peptides overlapping by 10 residues and spanning the entire HCV sequence of genotype 1b. Results: Five patients presented detectable HCV-specific CD8(+) T-cell responses against a single and different peptide, whereas 1 patient showed responses against three different peptides. Neither the magnitude of HCV-specific CD8(+) T-cell responses nor the severity of hepatitis predicts the outcome of acute hepatitis. The maximum number of HCV-specific CD8(+) T-cells correlated with maximum serum alanine aminotransferase level during the course (r = 0.841, P = 0.036). Conclusions: HCV-specific CD8(+) T-cell responses were detectable in all 6 patients with acute HCV infection, and 6 novel HCV-specific CTL epitopes were identified. Acute HCV infection can resolve with detectable HCV-specific CD8(+) T-cell responses, but without development of antibody against HCV.

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