Intrahepatic expression of programmed death-1 and its ligands in patients with HBV-related acute-on-chronic liver failure.
Cao D, Xu H, Guo G, Ruan Z, Fei L, Xie Z, Wu Y, Chen Y. Inflammation. 2013 Feb;36(1):110-20. doi: 10.1007/s10753-012-9525-7.
Institute of Immunology, PLA, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing, 400038, People's Republic of China.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is a major public health problem, and HBV-related acute-on-chronic liver failure (HBV-ACLF) has an extremely poor prognosis due to a lack of understanding of pathogenesis as well as a lack of effective treatments. Signals from the inhibitory receptor programmed death-1 (PD-1) have been demonstrated to be involved in regulating the pathogenesis of infectious diseases. However, the expression of PD-1 and its ligands in HBV-ACLF patients has yet to be evaluated. In this study, the expression of PD-1 and its ligands, PD-L1 and PD-L2, in liver biopsies from HBV-ACLF as well as chronic hepatitis B (CHB) patients were analyzed by immunohistochemistry. The results showed that all three molecules were observed in the HBV-ACLF samples and their levels were significantly higher than they were in CHB. Immunofluorescence double-staining showed that PD-1 was found on CD3(+), CD8(+) T cells, CD56(+) NK cells, CD68(+) macrophages, CK-18(+) epithelial cells, and CD16(+) monocytes. The PD-L1 expression was observed on all cell types detected and the PD-L2 was chiefly on CK-18(+) epithelial cells and CD31(+) endothelial cells. Interestingly, high levels of virus-induced procoagulant molecule fibrinogen-like protein 2 (FGL2) were observed in liver sections from HBV-ACLF, and PD-L1 and PD-L2 expression was also observed on FGL2(+) cells in these patients. Our combined results suggest that the expression of PD-L1 and PD-L2 may be biomarkers to identify and diagnose ACLF, and a clear understanding of their functional roles should further elucidate the pathogenesis of this disease.