Attenuated CD4+ T-cell-mediated immune responses are involved in persistence of HCV infection, but the mechanism remains undefined. In this study, the proportions of CD4+ T cell subsets, naïve, central memory, effector memory and effector cells, along with CD25 (IL-2Rα) and CD127 (IL-7Rα) expression on different CD4+ T cell subsets, were measured by polychromatic flow cytometry in 24 chronic HCV-infected individuals and 21 healthy controls. A significant decrease in naïve CD4+ T cells and an increase of central memory and effector memory CD4+ T cells were found in HCV-infected patients compared with healthy controls. HCV-infected patients showed a lower level of CD127 expression in all CD4+ T cells subsets, especially in central memory and effector CD4+ T cells. In terms of total CD4+ T cells, an increase in CD25+ regular T cells (CD4+ CD25+ CD127lo) was found in HCV-infected patients. Interestingly, naïve CD4+ T cells showed increased CD25 expression, while effector memory and effector CD4+ T cells had lower CD25 expression. These data indicated that variations in different fractions of CD4+ T cells, including the phenotypic profile and expression level of CD25 and CD127, may be associated with low efficiency of immune response in chronic HCV infection. These results will strengthen the understanding of pathogenesis and dysfunction of CD4+ T cell immunity during long-term HCV persistence.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: May 1, 2010
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