Interferon-α improves phosphoantigen-induced Vγ9Vδ2 T-cells interferon-γ production during chronic HCV infection

Eleonora Cimini, Cécile Bonnafous, Veronica Bordoni, Eleonora Lalle, Helene Sicard, Alessandra Sacchi, Giulia Berno, Cristiana Gioia, Gianpiero D'Offizi, Ubaldo Visco Comandini, Chrysoula Vlassi, Maria Rosaria Capobianchi, Federico Martini, Chiara Agrati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In chronic HCV infection, treatment failure and defective host immune response highly demand improved therapy strategies. Vγ9Vδ2 T-cells may inhibit HCV replication in vitro through IFN-γ release after Phosphoantigen (PhAg) stimulation. The aim of our work was to analyze Vγ9Vδ2 T-cell functionality during chronic HCV infection, studying the role of IFN-α on their function capability. IFN-γ production by Vγ9Vδ2 T-cells was analyzed in vitro in 24 HCV-infected patients and 35 healthy donors (HD) after PhAg stimulation with or without IFN-α. The effect of in vivo PhAg/IFN-α administration on plasma IFN-γ levels was analyzed in M. fascicularis monkeys. A quantitative analysis of IFN-γ mRNA level and stability in Vγ9Vδ2 T-cells was also evaluated. During chronic HCV infection, Vγ9Vδ2 T-cells showed an effector/activated phenotype and were significantly impaired in IFN-γ production. Interestingly, IFN-α was able to improve their IFN-γ response to PhAg both in vitro in HD and HCV-infected patients, and in vivo in Macaca fascicularis primates. Finally, IFN-α increased IFN-γ-mRNA transcription and stability in PhAg-activated Vγ9Vδ2 T-cells. Altogether our results show a functional impairment of Vγ9Vδ2 T-cells during chronic HCV infection that can be partially restored by using IFN-α. A study aimed to evaluate the antiviral impact of PhAg/IFN-α combination may provide new insight in designing possible combined strategies to improve HCV infection treatment outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere37014
JournalPLoS One
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 22 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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