Original Article—Liver, Pancreas, and Biliary Tract

Journal of Gastroenterology

, Volume 47, Issue 9, pp 1048-1056

Patients with chronic hepatitis C express a high percentage of CD4+CXCR5+ T follicular helper cells

  • Junyan FengAffiliated withDepartment of Central Laboratory, The Second Part of First Hospital, Jilin University
  • , Xiaoli HuAffiliated withDepartment of Infection, Heilongjiang Province HospitalDepartment of Hepatology, First Hospital, Jilin University
  • , Hui GuoAffiliated withDepartment of Central Laboratory, The Second Part of First Hospital, Jilin University
  • , Xiguang SunAffiliated withDepartment of Central Laboratory, The Second Part of First Hospital, Jilin University
  • , Juan WangAffiliated withDepartment of Central Laboratory, The Second Part of First Hospital, Jilin University
  • , Lijun XuAffiliated withDepartment of Central Laboratory, The Second Part of First Hospital, Jilin University
  • , Zhenyu JiangAffiliated withDepartment of Central Laboratory, The Second Part of First Hospital, Jilin University
  • , Bingchuan XuAffiliated withDepartment of Central Laboratory, The Second Part of First Hospital, Jilin University
  • , Junqi NiuAffiliated withDepartment of Hepatology, First Hospital, Jilin University Email author 
    • , Yanfang JiangAffiliated withDepartment of Central Laboratory, The Second Part of First Hospital, Jilin University Email author 

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Abstract

Background

T follicular helper (TFH) cells are a subpopulation of T-helper cells which regulate humoral immune responses. The role of TFH cells in viral infection is unclear. This study examined the possible involvement of CD4+CXCR5+ TFH cells in chronic hepatitis C (HCV) infection.

Methods

The percentages of peripheral blood CD4+CXCR5+ TFH cells, inducible T-cell costimulator cells, and/or programmed death 1-positive CD4+CXCR5+ TFH cells in 39 HCV-infected patients, 12 patients with spontaneously resolved HCV infection (SR-HCV), and 12 healthy controls were characterized by flow cytometry analysis. The subjects’ serum HCV RNA loads and alanine aminotransferase and aspartate aminotransferase levels were measured. The potential association of the percentage of peripheral CD4+CXCR5+ TFH cells with clinical data was analyzed.

Results

Higher percentages of peripheral blood CD4+CXCR5+ TFH cells were found in SR-HCV and HCV-infected patients as compared with healthy controls. Interestingly, a statistically significant negative correlation was found between the percentage of CD4+CXCR5+ TFH cells and the HCV RNA load.

Conclusions

These data suggest that CD4+CXCR5+ TFH cells may participate in HCV-related immune responses. Increased TFH cells in peripheral blood may help to control HCV infection.

Keywords

CD4+CXCR5+ TFH cells HCV Spontaneously resolved HCV infection ICOS PD-1