European Journal of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 179-184

First online:

Peripheral T regulatory cells and cytokines in hepatitis E infection

  • A. S. TripathyAffiliated withHepatitis Group, National Institute of Virology Email author 
  • , R. DasAffiliated withHepatitis Group, National Institute of Virology
  • , S. B. RathodAffiliated withHepatitis Group, National Institute of Virology
  • , Y. K. GuravAffiliated withOutbreak Response Group, National Institute of Virology
  • , V. A. ArankalleAffiliated withHepatitis Group, National Institute of Virology

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This study addresses the involvement of regulatory T cells in hepatitis E (HE) infection. The study population comprised 77 acute viral HE patients, 52 recovered individuals (overall, 129 individuals with HE) and 53 healthy controls. Peripheral CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ and CD4+CD25Foxp3+ frequencies by flow cytometry and HE-specific cytokines/chemokines quantitation were carried out. The median percentage of CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ and CD4+CD25Foxp3+ T cells in acute patients were significantly higher compared to controls and recovered individuals. Both of the T regulatory (Treg) subset populations in overall HE were significantly elevated compared to controls. Comparisons of cytokines/chemokines revealed that the levels of IL-10 were elevated in: (a) acute viral hepatitis E (AVH-E) versus recovered individuals and controls, and (b) HE versus controls. Overall, the elevation of CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ and CD4+CD25Foxp3+ frequencies and the rise in IL-10 suggest that Treg cells might be playing a pivotal role in hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection.