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Characterization of peripheral blood lymphocyte subsets in hepatitis C virus-infected patients

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Author(s): LI Yuanyuan

Journal: Journal of Clinical Hepatology
ISSN 1001-5256

Volume: 29;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 132;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: lymphocyte subsets | hepatitis C | chronic | hepacivirus

ABSTRACT
ObjectiveTo analyze the peripheral blood lymphocyte subsets in hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected patients and determine their clinical implications. MethodsPeripheral blood samples were collected from 241 patients diagnosed with HCV infection and 117 healthy adult controls between 2001 and 2009. Flow cytometry was used to detect the percentages of lymphocyte subsets in each sample, including CD3+ T cells, CD3+CD4+ T cells, CD3+CD8+ T cells, CD3-CD19+ B cells, CD3-CD16+CD56+ natural killer (NK) cells, and CD3+CD16+CD56+ NKT cells, as well as the CD4/CD8 ratio. Significance of between group differences was assessed by the Mann-Whitney U test. Potential correlation of lymphocyte subset percentages with patient age was analyzed by the Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient. ResultsThe percentages of peripheral blood lymphocyte subsets detected in the healthy controls served as the reference standards. In the healthy controls, the frequencies of CD3+CD4+ T cells and CD3+CD16+CD56+ NK cells, and the CD4/CD8 ratio were positively correlated with increasing age. In the HCV-infected patients with chronic hepatitis, the frequency of CD3+CD4+ T cells was also positively correlated with increasing age, but the frequency of CD3-CD19+ B cells was negatively correlated with age. In HCV-infected patients with liver cirrhosis, the frequency of CD3-CD16+CD56+ NK cells was positively correlated with increasing age. In HCV-infected patients between the ages of 15 and 49 years old, the frequency of CD3+CD4+ T cells was higher in females than in males. However, in the sub-group of HCV-infected patients with liver cirrhosis, the frequency of CD3-CD19+ B cells was lower in females than in males. Moreover, compared to the healthy controls, the HCV-infected patients had significantly lower frequency of CD3-CD16+CD56+ NK cells but higher frequency of CD3+CD8+ T cells. HCV-infected patients more than 15 years old and having both chronic hepatitis and liver cirrhosis showed elevated frequency of CD3-CD19+ B cells compared to healthy controls. ConclusionThe percentages of peripheral blood lymphocyte subsets are influenced by disease progression in chronic hepatitis C patients; the differential profile may be helpful for evaluating the immune status of HCV-infected subjects in clinic.
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