Clinical events and the host immune response during hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection are intricately linked. Despite decades of research, important questions concerning the immunopathogenesis of chronic HBV infection remain unanswered. For example, it is unclear which immune parameters facilitate persistence, and if HBV can be completely cleared from the human liver. Recent technological breakthroughs now allow researchers to address these seemingly basic, but essential questions surrounding HBV immunity. It will be important to better define the molecular underpinnings of immune cell function and dysfunction during chronic disease and in controlled infection, with particular focus on the liver, as little information is available on the intrahepatic compartment. In the near future, it may be possible to solve some of the controversy surrounding the immune responses to HBV, and establish the features of both the innate and adaptive arms of the immune system required to achieve sustained control of HBV infection.

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Best Practice and Research in Clinical Gastroenterology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Boeijen, L., Hoogeveen, R., Boonstra, A., & Lauer, G.M. (Georg M.). (2017). Hepatitis B virus infection and the immune response: The big questions. Best Practice and Research in Clinical Gastroenterology (Vol. 31, pp. 265–272). doi:10.1016/j.bpg.2017.05.003