Little is known about the frequency and function of CD16+CD14-monocytes from chronic HCV patients. We observed that the absolute numbers and ratio of CD16+CD14-to CD14+CD16-monocytes were similar between chronic HCV patients and healthy individuals. Functionally, we found that CD16+CD14-monocytes are more responsive to TLR8-ligation and only weakly responsive to LPS stimulation in producing TNF as compared to CD14+CD16-monocytes. We found no overt impairment of the function of CD16+CD14-monocytes from patients, except for an augmented induction of MIP-1β-producing CD16+CD14-monocytes upon TLR4-ligation. However, the increased frequency of MIP-1β-producing CD16+CD14-monocytes was not associated with viral load, ALT or fibrosis level. Our findings indicate that, different from other infectious diseases, the frequency and function of CD16+CD14-monocytes are only minimally altered as a consequence of the persistent state of HCV infections, and our findings therefore do not suggest a role for CD16+CD14-monocytes in HCV pathogenesis.

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Keywords Hepatitis C virus, Monocyte subset, TLR, Viral infection
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Journal Molecular Immunology
Peng, C, Liu, B, de Knegt, R.J, Janssen, H.L.A, & Boonstra, P.A. (2011). The response to TLR ligation of human CD16+CD14- monocytes is weakly modulated as a consequence of persistent infection with the hepatitis C virus. Molecular Immunology, 48(12-13), 1505–1511. doi:10.1016/j.molimm.2011.04.008