Hepatitis C virus induces regulatory T cells by naturally occurring viral variants to suppress T cell responses

David D. Eckels, Matthew F. Cusick, Jennifer J. Schiller, Joan C. Gill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

Regulatory T cell markers are increased in chronically infected individuals with the hepatitis C virus (HCV), but to date, the induction and maintenance of Tregs in HCV infection has not been clearly defined. In this paper, we demonstrate that naturally occurring viral variants suppress T cell responses to cognate NS3358-375 in an antigen-specific manner. Of four archetypal variants, S370P induced regulatory T cell markers in comparison to NS3 358-375-stimulated CD4 T cells. Further, the addition of variant-specific CD4 T cells back into a polyclonal culture in a dose-dependent manner inhibited the T cell response. These results suggest that HCV is able to induce antigen-specific regulatory T cells to suppress the antiviral T cell response in an antigen-specific manner, thus contributing to a niche within the host that could be conducive to HCV persistence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number806061
JournalClinical and Developmental Immunology
Volume2011
DOIs
StatePublished - 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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