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Direct-acting antiviral treatment downregulates immune checkpoint inhibitor expression in patients with chronic hepatitis C

Authors
  • Szereday, Laszlo1, 2
  • Meggyes, Matyas1, 2
  • Berki, Timea1
  • Miseta, Attila1
  • Farkas, Nelli1
  • Gervain, Judit3
  • Par, Alajos1
  • Par, Gabriella1, 1
  • 1 University of Pecs, Medical School,
  • 2 Janos Szentagothai Research Centre, Pecs, Hungary
  • 3 County Hospital Fejér, Szent György Hospital, Szekesfehervar, Hungary
Type
Published Article
Journal
Clinical and Experimental Medicine
Publisher
Springer International Publishing
Publication Date
Feb 27, 2020
Volume
20
Issue
2
Pages
219–230
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s10238-020-00618-3
PMID: 32108916
PMCID: PMC7181552
Source
PubMed Central
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

Chronic hepatitis C (CHC) infection is associated with increased TIM-3, PD-1 immune checkpoint receptors expression that inhibits adaptive T cells and increases NK cell cytotoxicity against T helper cells, both resulting T cell exhaustion. Elimination of the virus with direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) may modify host immune response via altering these immune checkpoint receptors’ expression. We conducted a prospective study to analyze changes in TIM-3, PD-1 and their ligands galectin-9, PD-L1 expression by peripheral blood T cell subpopulations, NK cell subpopulations, and monocytes by multicolor flow cytometry in 14 CHC patients successfully treated with 12 weeks of dasabuvir, ombitasvir, and paritaprevir/ritonavir plus ribavirin. Blood samples were collected before, at the end of treatment, and 12 and 24 weeks later. Sustained virological response (SVR) was associated with increased percentage of peripheral blood CD3+ T and CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes and decreased percentage of NKbright cells. After DAA treatment, decreased TIM-3 expression by CD4+ T cells, by NKbright, and by NKT cells was found. Expression of immune checkpoint molecules’ ligand PD-L1 by NK cells and by regulatory T cells and galectin-9 by NK cells and monocytes also decreased significantly at SVR. Our data suggest that DAA treatment not only inhibits viral replication but may alter host adaptive and innate immune responses. A decrease in immune checkpoint molecules and their ligands expression both on adaptive and on innate immune cells may contribute to the recovery of exhausted adaptive immune responses and to sustained virological response. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (10.1007/s10238-020-00618-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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