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Relationship between Regulatory T Cells and the Combination of Pegylated Interferon and Ribavirin for the Treatment of Chronic Hepatitis Type CAkiyama M. · Ichikawa T. · Miyaaki H. · Motoyoshi Y. · Takeshita S. · Ozawa E. · Miuma S. · Shibata H. · Taura N. · Nakao K.
Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Graduate School of Biochemical Science, Nagasaki University, Nagasaki, Japan Corresponding Author
First Department of Internal Medicine, Unit of Translational Medicine
Graduate School of Biochemical Science, Nagasaki University
1-7-1 Sakamoto, Nagasaki 852-8501 (Japan)
Tel. +81 95 819 7260, Fax +81 95 849 7270, E-Mail email@example.com
Background/Aim: The frequency of regulatory T cells (Tregs) may be related to persistent hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. We studied the alteration of the Treg ratio in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from chronic hepatitis C patients during combination therapy compared with the Treg ratio in liver-infiltrating lymphocytes (LILs) before therapy. Method: The study group consisted of 20 patients who were treatment-naive and had high virus titers of HCV genotype 1. Blood samples were collected prior to treatment and at several time points during treatment. All patients received a liver biopsy prior to treatment. Forkhead box P3 (Foxp3)+, CD3+, CD4+ and CD8+ cells in PBMCs and LILs were stained by specific antibodies. Results: Ten patients had a sustained virological response (SVR), and 10 patients were non-responders. The SVR group had a significant increase in the Foxp3+/CD4+ ratio in PBMCs at 8 and 12 weeks as well as a significant decrease in the Foxp3+/CD4+ ratio and increase in the CD8+/Foxp3+ ratio in LILs. Conclusion: The evaluation of Tregs, a potentially significant factor for persistent HCV infection, in LILs prior to treatment and in PBMCs during treatment could predict the result of combination therapy.
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