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Comparison of Immune Restoration in Early versus Late Interferon Alpha Therapy against Hepatitis C Virus
Abdel-Hakeem MS, B�dard N, Badr G, Ostrowski M, S�kaly RP, Bruneau J, Willems B, Heathcote EJ, Shoukry NH. J Virol. 2010 Jul 28. [Epub ahead of print]
Early interferon-alpha (IFN-alpha) therapy against hepatitis C virus (HCV) rescues poly-functional virus-specific memory CD8+ T cells, but whether immune restoration is possible during late therapy remains controversial. We compared immune restoration of HCV-specific memory T cells in patients who cleared HCV infection spontaneously and following early or late IFN therapy. Multi-functional, CD4+ and CD8+ memory T cells were detected in spontaneous resolvers and in individuals treated early following an acute infection. In contrast, limited responses were detected in patients treated during chronic infection and phenotype of HCV-specific cells was influenced by autologous viral sequences. Our data suggest that irreversible damage to the HCV-specific memory T cell response is associated with chronic HCV infection.