Characteristics of Circulating T Cell Receptor γδ T Cells from Individuals Chronically Infected with Hepatitis B Virus (HBV): An Association between Vδ2 Subtype and Chronic HBV Infection

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Abstract

Background.

To date, few studies have been conducted to determine whether T cell receptor (TCR) γδ T cells are involved in hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. This study was performed to assess the quantity and immune function of TCRγδ T cells in the blood of patients with chronic HBV infection and to analyze the relationship between proportions of TCRγδ T cells and both proportions of other immune cells and clinical parameters.

Methods.

Flow cytometry was used to detect the proportions of TCRγδ T cells and other immune cells in the peripheral blood of 46 asymptomatic carriers (AsCs) of HBV, 95 patients with chronic hepatitis B (CHB), and 29 healthy donors (HDs). The immune functions of TCRγδ T cells from 5 AsCs, 6 patients with CHB, and 5 HDs were assessed by cytokine secretion and cytotoxity assays.

Results.

The difference in the proportion of the Vδ2 T cell subtype between HDs and patients was significant. For the patients, the proportion of Vδ2 T cells was negatively correlated with alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, and total bilirubin levels. The differences in interferon (IFN)-γ secretion and cytotoxicity between patients and HDs were significant.

Conclusions.

The proportion of circulating Vδ2 T cells was significantly decreased in patients with chronic HBV infection, and this was accompanied by a strong immune response in the liver. IFN-γ secretion and TCRγδ T cell cytotoxicity was lower in patients than in HDs.

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