Published online Jun 1, 2004. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v10.i11.1578
Revised: September 14, 2003
Accepted: September 25, 2003
Published online: June 1, 2004
AIM: To determine whether dendritic cells (DCs) from chronic hepatitis B patients could induce HBV antigen-specific T cell responses or not.
METHODS: DCs were generated from peripheral blood mononuclear cells of patients with chronic hepatitis B (CHB) infection and healthy donors. We compared the phenotypes of these DCs and their ability to secrete cytokines and to participate in mixed lymphocyte reactions. In addition, autologous lymphocytes were cultured with DCs loaded with HBV core region peptide HBcAg8-27, an epitope recognized by cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL), and bearing human leucocyte antigen (HLA) -A2 for 10 d. Cytokine secretion and lytic activity against peptide-pulsed target cells were assessed.
RESULTS: DCs with typical morphology were generated successfully by culturing peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from CHB patients with AIM-V containing GM-CSF and IL-4. Compared with DCs from normal donors, the level of CD80 expressed in DCs from CHB patients was lower, and DCs from patients had lower capacity of stimulate T cell proliferation. When PBMCs isolated from patients with chronic or acute hepatitis B infection and from normal donors were cocultured with HBcAg18-27 peptide, the antigen-specific memory response of PBMCs from acute hepatitis B patients was stronger than that of PBMCs from chronic hepatitis B patients or normal donors. PBMCs cocultured with DCs treated with HBcAg18-27 CTL epitope peptide induced an antigen-specific T cell reaction, in which the level of secreted cytokines and lytic activity were higher than those produced by memory T cells.
CONCLUSION: DCs from patients with CHB can induce HBV antigen-specific T cell reactions, including secretion of cytokines essential for HBV clearance and for killing cells infected with HBV.