Reciprocal changes of naïve and effector/memory CD8 + T lymphocytes in chronic hepatitis B virus infection
Persistent viruses, such as cytomegalovirus or human immunodeficiency virus, cause major perturbations of CD8+T-lymphocyte subpopulations. To test whether chronic infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV) could also be responsible for such modifications, we analyzed the expression of CD27, CD28, CCR7, and perforin in blood CD8+T lymphocytes. In comparison to healthy subjects and patients recovering from acute hepatitis B, chronic hepatitis B patients showed higher percentages of naïve CD8+T lymphocytes (CD45RA+CD27+CD28+), and lower percentages of intermediately-differentiated CD27+CD28-CD8+T cells. The late differentiated CD45RA+CD27-CD28-subset was also present in a large percentage in some patients, but no statistically significant difference with healthy controls was observed. Removal from the circulation of intermediately-differentiated CD8+T lymphocytes may occur during chronic HBV infection, favoring the recruitment of naïve cells. This may result in impairment of the generation of functionally-competent memory cells, and an inability to achieve control of HBV replication. Copyright 2011, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.