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Expression of CD39 on FoxP3+ T regulatory cells correlates with progression of HBV infection.

Tang Y, Jiang L, Zheng Y, Ni B, Wu Y. BMC Immunol. 2012 Apr 11;13:17. doi: 10.1186/1471-2172-13-17.

Source

Institute of Immunology, PLA, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing 400038, People Republic of China.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Although it is known that regulatory T cells (Tregs) can suppress the function of effector T cells, and may contribute to impaired immune response, the precise role of Tregs during the course of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection remains to be elucidated. A newly identified subset of the CD4+Foxp3+ Tregs, the CD39+ Tregs, has been associated with viral infections and autoimmune diseases. Therefore, we hypothesized that this discrete Treg subset may contribute to the chronic infection of HBV.

RESULTS:

Initial characterization studies of healthy peripheral CD39+FoxP3+CD4+ T cells revealed that the majority were CD45RA- Treg cells. Subsequent analysis of HBV-infected patients (38 asymptomatic HBV carriers (AsCs), 37 chronic active hepatitis B (CAH), 29 HBV-associated acute-on-chronic liver failure (ACLF)) and healthy individuals (25 controls) was conducted to assess association with HBV copy number and the liver injury marker alanine aminotransferase (ALT). A higher percentage of CD39+ Tregs was detected within the population of FoxP3+CD4+ T cells in peripheral blood of AsCs patients. Moreover, the percentage of CD39+ Tregs was significantly less in CAH and ACLF patients. The increased proportions of circulating CD39+ Tregs were positively correlated with serum viral load, but inversely correlated with serum ALT level.

CONCLUSIONS:

These findings not only suggest that CD39+ Treg cells may be involved in HBV disease progression but also identify CD39+ Tregs as a dynamic immune regulatory cell population that may represent a new target of immunomodulatory therapeutic interventions.

ACHIEVMENTS

    • Total cases enrolled = 4279
    • Total centers across Asia = 50
    • Total manuscripts = 6
    • Total video conferences conducted = 37
    • Total abstract presented in conference by AARC group = 44