Antigen-specific T lymphocyte proliferation decreases over time in advanced chronic hepatitis C

C. Morishima, A. M. Di Bisceglie, A. L. Rothman, H. L. Bonkovsky, K. L. Lindsay, W. M. Lee, M. J. Koziel, R. J. Fontana, H. Y. Kim, E. C. Wright

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10 Scopus citations


To evaluate T cell immunity in advanced liver disease, antigen-specific lymphoproliferative (LP) responses were prospectively studied in the context of the Hepatitis C Antiviral Long-term Treatment against Cirrhosis trial. Peripheral blood responses to hepatitis C virus (HCV), tetanus and Candida protein antigens were measured at baseline, month 12 (M12), M24, M36 and M48 in 186 patients randomized to either low-dose peginterferon-alfa-2a (PEG-IFN) only or observation. Liver histology was evaluated at baseline, M24 and M48. Patients with cirrhosis (Ishak 5-6) were less likely to have positive LP responses to HCV at baseline than patients with fibrosis (15%vs 29%, P = 0.03) and had lower levels of HCV c100 responses at baseline, M24 and M48 (P = 0.11, P = 0.05, P = 0.02, respectively). For 97 patients with complete longitudinal data, the frequency of positive LP responses to HCV, tetanus and Candida antigens declined over time (P < 0.003), and the slope of this decline was greater in the PEG-IFN treatment group than the observation group (P < 0.02). Lower levels of tetanus LP responses were associated with fibrosis progression and clinical outcomes (P = 0.009). Poorer CD4+ T cell proliferative function was associated with more advanced liver disease in chronic hepatitis C and may be further affected by long-term PEG-IFN treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)404-413
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Viral Hepatitis
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2012


  • T cell
  • cirrhosis
  • fibrosis
  • hepatitis C virus
  • interferon-alpha
  • lymphoproliferation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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