A6 (Dys)-regulation of the cellular HCV-specific immune response

A6_April 2014

Principal Investigator:
Dr. med. Julian Constantin Schulze zur Wiesch
I. Medizinische Klinik
Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf
Martinistraße 52
20246 Hamburg
Tel.: +49-40-7410-20977
E-Mail: jschulze@uke.uni-hamburg.de

Project description

Several chronic virus infections are associated with a dysfunctional adaptive immune response. Primary HCV infection for instance, is characterized by the generation of functional initial immune responses in all patients, independent of disease outcome. However, in patients with chronic outcome, this immune response turns dysfunctional and cannot be detected a few weeks after primary infection. Possible underlying causes for this observed T cell dysfunction could be the overexpression of co-inhibitory molecules on HCV specific T cells, the presence of T regulatory cells and elevated levels pro-inhibitory cytokines in the liver milieu. The combination of these factors might result in the inhibition of HCV-specific T cell responses. Hence, the selective blockade of co-inhibitory molecules/Tregs could, on the one hand, lead to the partial regeneration of T cell responses against HCV. On the other hand, the effects of the chronic inflammation of the liver tissue could be counteracted which in term would lead to a decrease of inflammation-mediated liver fibrosis. However, these factors still need to be characterized further in order to understand the mechanism that lead to T cell dysfunction.

A6 in 60 SecondsVideoarchiv

online seit 19.11.2012

Thus, the main aim of our study is to characterize intrahepatic and peripheral blood T cell populations at different stages of HCV infection phenotypically and functionally. The phenotypic characterization of HCV specific T cells will be carried out by using MHC I and MHC II tetramers and by analyzing the cytokine-, memory/differentiation profile of these cells. In parallel, the expression of co-inhibitory molecules and adenosine receptors on these cells shall be determined. These investigations shall contribute to the understanding of the mechanisms involved in the dysregulation of the HCV specific T cell responses in chronic HCV infection.

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