- Volume 47 Issue 4
T cells play a key role in viral infection. However, in patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, HCV-specific T cells are dysfunctional and impaired in the liver, which is the primary site for HCV replication. There are multiple potential mechanisms for HCV-specific T cell dysfunction including induction of immune inhibitory pathways (program death-1; PD-1, cytotoxic t lymphocyte associated antigen-4; CTLA-4) and immune tolerance induced specific for the liver. However, the interaction between hepatocytes and HCV-specific CD8 T cells has not clearly established. In this study, we confirmed huh (human hepatoma) 7.5 cells expressing HLA (human leukocyte antigen) A2 presented antigen to activate HCV-specific CD8 T cells in HLA A2-restricted manner and expression of PD-L (program death ligand) 1 on huh7.5 cells reduced HCV-specific CD8 T cell activation, suggesting an immune modulatory activity. Loss of HCV-specific tetramer responses following antigenic stimulation correlated with increased caspase-3 activity. In addition, PD-L1 on huh7.5 cells rescued HCV-specific CD8 T cells from apoptosis. Our results suggest that the interaction between PD-L1 and PD-1 can recover the function of HCV-specific CD8 T cells in the liver, which could be applied in therapy of HCV chronic infection.
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