Little is known about the immune status in liver and blood of patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection long after therapy-induced viral clearance. In this study, we demonstrate that, 4 years after clearance, regulation of HCV-specific immunity in blood by regulatory T cells (Tregs) and the immunosuppressive cytokines interleukin 10 and transforming growth factor β is still ongoing. Importantly, analysis of liver specimens collected 4 years after HCV clearance shows that intrahepatic Tregs are still present in all patients, suggesting that liver T cells remain regulated. Identifying mechanisms that regulate HCV-specific memory T-cell responses after clearance is highly relevant for the development of protective vaccines, especially in patients at high risk of reinfection.

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The Journal of Infectious Diseases
Department of Internal Medicine

Spaan, M., Claassen, M., Hou, J., Janssen, H., de Knegt, R., & Boonstra, A. (2015). The Intrahepatic T Cell Compartment Does Not Normalize Years after Therapy-Induced Hepatitis C Virus Eradication. In The Journal of Infectious Diseases (Vol. 212, pp. 386–390). doi:10.1093/infdis/jiv059