Intrahepatic Vγ9Vδ2 T-cells from HCV-infected patients show an exhausted phenotype but can inhibit HCV replication

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Hepatitis C virus (HCV) persistence results from inefficiencies of both innate and adaptive immune responses to eradicate the infection. A functional impairment of circulating Vγ9Vδ2 T-cells was described but few data are available on Vγ9Vδ2 T-cells in the liver that, however, represents the battlefield in the HCV/host interaction. Aim of this work was to compare circulating and intrahepatic Vγ9Vδ2 T-cells in chronic HCV-infected patients (HCVpos) and in HCV-negative (HCVneg) subjects. Phenotypic and functional analysis was performed by flow cytometry. Anti-HCV activity was analyzed by using an in vitro autologous liver culture system. Independently from HCV infection, the liver was enriched of Vγ9Vδ2 T-cells expressing an effector/activated phenotype. In contrast, an enrichment of PD-1 expressing Vγ9Vδ2 T-cells was observed both in the peripheral blood and in the liver of HCVpos patients, probably due to a persistent antigenic stimulation. Moreover, a lower frequency of IFN-γ producing Vγ9Vδ2 T-cells was observed in the liver of HCVpos patients, suggesting a functional impairment in the cytokine production in HCVpos liver. Despite this hypo-responsiveness, intrahepatic Vγ9Vδ2 T-cells are able to exert an anti-HCV activity after specific stimulation. Altogether, our data show that HCV infection induced a dysregulation of intrahepatic Vγ9Vδ2 T cells that maintain their anti-HCV activity after specific stimulation. A study aimed to evaluate the mechanisms of the antiviral activity may be useful to identify new pathways able to improve Vγ9Vδ2 T-cells intrahepatic function during HCV infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalVirus Research
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Oct 10 2017



  • HCV infection
  • Liver tissue
  • PhAg
  • Vγ9Vδ2 T-cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Cancer Research

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