Defects in T lymphocyte subpopulations and in the functional characteristics of such cells have been thought to play a role in the evolution of chronic hepatitis B, but the precise nature of the alterations and their significance remains unresolved. We studied lymphocyte subsets in 27 patients with chronic bepatitis B utilizing standard monoclonal antibodies including Leu 1,2a,3a,7 and Dl/12 (against the common determinant of the Dr molecule), as well as a newly described monoclonal antibody, “5/9,” which is thought to characterize a unique subpopulation of T4 cells with specific helper/inducer function. These results were compared with those obtained using the autologous mixed lymphocyte reaction assay for the same patients in order to further delineate the lymphocyte alterations in chronic bepatitis B. A significant reduction in the mean number of Leu 3a (T4) positive cells was observed as well as a reduction in the number of 5/9 positive cells. These changes were most evident in those positive for HBeAg in serum. Reduction in Leu 3a cells was associated with a reduced autologous mixed lymphocyte reaction assay response, and was most marked in the HBeAg‐positive individuals. These findings suggest that HBeAg‐positive patients in whom active viral replication is occurring have a defect in T lymphocyte number and function, which may be due in part to reduced 5/9 positive cells. These alterations may be related to the persistence of virus in chronic active bepatitis B patients.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||The American Journal of Gastroenterology|
|State||Published - Feb 1987|
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