Specificity of T lymphocyte cytotoxicity to autologous hepatocytes in chronic hepatitis B virus infection: Evidence that T cells are directed against HBV core antigen expressed on hepatocytes

M. Mondelli, G. M. Vergani, A. Alberti, D. Vergani, B. Portmann, A. L. Eddleston, R. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2773-2778
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Immunology
Volume129
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1982

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology

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