Peripheral blood T lymphocytes from 21 patients with chronic HBV infection were incubated with autologous hepatocytes in a microcytotoxicity assay. Cytotoxicity was significantly increased in 13 cases, and in 12 of these the cytotoxic effect of the T lymphocytes was inhibited by preincubating the liver cells with IgG containing antibodies to the hepatitis B core antigen (HBcAg). Normal human IgG and IgG containing antibodies to the hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) were without effect. Control experiments using autologous fibroblasts as target cells showed low levels of T cell cytotoxicity and no blocking effect of anti-core antibody. All patients in whom it was possible to demonstrate HBcAg in liver tissue had significantly increased T cell cytotoxicity to autologous hepatocytes. These studies suggest that T cell cytotoxicity in patients with chronic HBV infection is directed against determinants resembling the hepatitis B core antigen on the plasma membrane of hepatocytes.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Journal of Immunology|
|Publication status||Published - 1982|
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