To kill or to cure: Options in host defense against viral infection

Luca G. Guidotti, Francis V. Chisari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is generally thought that viral clearance is mediated primarily by antigen-specific T cell responses that destroy infected cells. This assumption may not be true for all viruses. Recent studies using a transgenic mouse model of hepatitis B virus infection have shown that adoptively transferred, virus-specific cytotoxic T cells can abolish hepatitis B virus gene expression and replication in the liver without killing the hepatocytes. This effect is mediated by interferon-γ and tumor necrosis factor-a, which are secreted by the cytotoxic T lymphocytes following antigen recognition. Similar noncytopathic cytokine-dependent 'curative' processes also occur in this model during an unrelated infection of the liver. Intracellular viral inactivation mechanisms such as these could greatly amplify the protective effects of the immune response. Research has also been carried out to clarify the relevance of curative versus destructive mechanisms of viral clearance in other models of viral infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)478-483
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Immunology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy


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