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Update on hepatitis C virus-specific immunity

Ciuffreda, Donatellaa; Kim, Arthur Y.b

Current Opinion in HIV and AIDS: November 2011 - Volume 6 - Issue 6 - p 559–565
doi: 10.1097/COH.0b013e32834b879e
HIV and hepatitis C coinfection: Edited by Jürgen Rockstroh and Gail Matthews

Purpose of review The goal of this study is to review key recent findings related to the immunopathogenesis of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, especially in regards to T lymphocytes. It aims to complement other reviews in this issue on the roles of host genetics (IL-28B), acute HCV infection (when disease outcome is determined) and other factors that may influence fibrosis progression (microbial translocation). The main focus is on specific immunity and T cells in the context of success and failure to control viral infection.

Recent findings This review focuses on two areas of intense interest in the recent literature: the relationship between the human leukocyte antigen (HLA), class I-restricted T-cell responses and the evolution of the virus and the role of inhibitory markers on T cells in the immunopathogenesis of HCV. When appropriate, we compare findings from studies of HIV-specific immunity.

Summary From examining the virus and the mutational changes associated with T-cell responses and from analyzing the markers on T cells, there have been numerous advances in the understanding of immune evasion mechanisms employed by HCV.

aGastrointestinal Unit

bDivision of Infectious Diseases, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Correspondence to Arthur Y. Kim, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital, 55 Fruit Street/Cox 5, Boston, MA 02114, USATel: +1 617 724 3230; fax: +1 617 726 5411; e-mail:

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.