1 Department of Clinical Medicine, Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Københavns Universitet2 Graduate School of Health and Medical Sciences, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Københavns Universitet3 unknown4 Graduate School of Health and Medical Sciences, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Københavns Universitet5 Department of Clinical Medicine, Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Københavns Universitet
Altered T cell homeostasis in chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection has been demonstrated. However, it is unknown if fibrosis is associated with more perturbed T cell homeostasis in chronic HCV infection. The aim of the present study was to examine and compare T cell subsets including recent thymic emigrants (RTE), naive, memory, senescent, apoptotic and IL-7 receptor α (CD127) expressing CD4+ and CD8+ T cells as well as telomere length and interferon-γ production in HCV-infected patients with (n=25) and without (n=26) fibrosis as well as in healthy controls (n=24). Decreased proportions of CD4+ and CD8+ RTE were found in HCV-infected patients, especially in HCV-infected patients with fibrosis (14.3% (9.7-23.0) and 28.8% (16.1-40.5), respectively) compared to healthy controls (24.2% (16.3-32.1), P=0.004, and 39.1% (31.6-55.0), P=0.010, respectively). Furthermore, HCV-infected patients with fibrosis presented with a higher proportion of CD4+ T cells expressing CD127 compared to HCV-infected patients without fibrosis (88.4% (84.5-91.0) vs. 83.8% (79.9-86.8), P=0.016). Thus, impaired thymic output in HCV infection was found, and high proportion of CD127+ T cells may illustrate a compensatory mechanism to preserve T cell counts. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Scandinavian Journal of Immunology, 2013, Vol 78, Issue 4, p. 378-386