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Immunoregulation of Hepatitis B Virus Infection –Rationale and Clinical Application–

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Author(s): TETSUYA ISHIKAWA

Journal: Nagoya Journal of Medical Science
ISSN 0027-7622

Volume: 74;
Issue: 3,4;
Start page: 217;
Date: 2012;
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Keywords: chronic hepatitis B | interferon-g | adaptive immune response | therapeutic vaccination | T-cell exhaustion

ABSTRACT
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is susceptible to the cellular immune responses, especially to the signal of interferon (IFN)-γ. The action of IFN-γ is pleiotropic, and causes downregulation of HBV in protein, RNA, and possibly DNA levels. Therefore, therapeutic vaccination to induce cellular immune responses to HBV is a promising approach for controlling chronic HBV infection. A number of clinical trials with this approach have been conducted to date, however, they have not been as successful as initially expected.T-cell exhaustion induced by the excessive HBV antigens caused by persistent infection is thought to be one of the main causes of poor responses to therapeutic vaccination. In this review, the mechanisms behind immunoregulation of HBV replication and immunodysfunction during chronic HBV infection are summarized, and novel approaches to improve the efficacy of therapeutic vaccination, from basic research to clinical trials, are introduced.

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