Induction of regulatory T-cells and interleukin-10-producing cells in non-responders to pegylated interferon-α therapy for chronic hepatitis B

Dave Sprengers, Jeroen N. Stoop, Rekha S. Binda, Johannes G. Kusters, Bart L. Haagmans, Patrizia Carotenuto, Andre Artsen, Renate G. Van Der Molen, Harry L.A. Janssen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Treatment with interferon-α (IFN-α) leads to a response in only a minority of patients with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, but the reasons for this are poorly understood. It was recently shown that in patients with chronic HBV infection, CD4+CD25+ regulatory T-cells (Treg) can suppress the HBV-specific immune response. We aimed to investigate whether in non-responders to IFN-α therapy Treg contribute to treatment failure by downregulating the HBV-specific T-cell responses. Patients and methods: Fourteen patients positive for hepatitis B e antigen received pegylated IFN-α monotherapy for 52 weeks and were followed for 26 weeks. Results: Compared with non-responders, responders displayed an increased HBV-specific T-helper cell proliferation. At the start of treatment there was no difference in the frequencies of CD4 +CD25+ Treg between responders and non-responders. During therapy, the frequency of CD4+CD25+ Treg increased in non-responders, but not in responders. In contrast to the responders, the non-responders showed a significant increase in the frequency of interleukin-10-producing cells. Treg depletion resulted in increased proliferation capacity, but did not affect the frequency of interleukin-10- producing cells measured during the course of the treatment. Conclusion: This study indicates that Treg might have an important role in HBV persistence during and after pegylated IFN-α therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1087-1096
Number of pages10
JournalAntiviral Therapy
Volume12
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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