Frequent analysis of the intrahepatic cellular immune response during chronic hepatitis B infection is not feasible with the liver tissue biopsy technique, due to its risk profile and patient discomfort. We investigated whether the relatively safe and patient-friendly cytological fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) technique is suited for this purpose. FNABs taken during hepatitis flares in three chronic hepatitis B patients treated with interferon-α, showed significant increments of CD8 +-lymphocytes compared with the FNABs taken before and after the flares. No increments were observed in peripheral blood. The increments of intrahepatic CD8+ lymphocytes detected by the FNAB were related to anti-viral immune reactivity, since they coincided with significant serum hepatitis B virus DNA level reductions and in two of three patients with HBeAg seroconversion. In conclusion, the FNAB technique is suited to investigate the intrahepatic immune response during chronic hepatitis B infection on a frequent basis.

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Keywords Anti-viral therapy, CD8+ T-lymphocyte, Chronic hepatitis, Fine-needle aspiration biopsy, Hepatitis B virus, Immunocytochemistry
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0928-8244(03)00206-2, hdl.handle.net/1765/67496
Journal F E M S Immunology and Medical Microbiology
Citation
Tang, T.J, Janssen, H.L.A, Kusters, J.G, de Man, R.A, Schalm, S.W, & Kwekkeboom, J. (2003). The intrahepatic immune response during chronic hepatitis B infection can be monitored by the fine-needle aspiration biopsy technique. F E M S Immunology and Medical Microbiology, 39(1), 69–72. doi:10.1016/S0928-8244(03)00206-2