The objective of this study was to analyse the potential role of CD27 in natural killer (NK) cell-mediated control of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in HIV-positive patients.
Frequency of CD27-expressing CD56Bright NK cells was analysed in HIV mono-infected individuals and HIV-positive patients with acute or chronic hepatitis C. Anti-HCV activity of CD27(+) and CD27(−) NK cells was compared.
NK cell mediated inhibition of HCV replication was analysed using the HUH7 HCV Replicon model. NK cell phenotype and interferon (IFN) secretion was studied by flowcytometry.
High frequency of CD27(+)CD56Bright NK cells is associated with spontaneous clearance of acute hepatitis C in HIV-positive patients. Accordingly, we found CD27(+)CD56Bright NK cells to display strong anti-HCV activity.
Our results underline the important role of NK cells in modulating outcome of HCV infection.