Skip to Content

Publications Search - Abstract View

Title: Hepatitis C virus (HCV)-specific immune responses of long-term injection drug users frequently exposed to HCV.
Authors: Mizukoshi E,  Eisenbach C,  Edlin BR,  Newton KP,  Raghuraman S,  Weiler-Normann C,  Tobler LH,  Busch MP,  Carrington M,  McKeating JA,  O'Brien TR,  Rehermann B
Journal: J Infect Dis
Date: 2008 Jul 15
Branches: EBP
PubMed ID: 18505381
PMC ID: PMC2699613
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Injection drug users (IDUs) who successfully clear hepatitis C virus (HCV) have a reduced risk of developing chronic reinfection, despite their continuing exposure to the virus. To identify immunological correlates for this apparent protection, we studied HCV-specific immune responses in long-term IDUs (duration, >10 years). METHODS: HCV-specific T cell responses were assessed in proliferation, enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISPOT), interferon (IFN)-gamma secretion, and cytotoxicity assays, whereas HCV-specific antibodies were assessed in enzyme immunoassays (EIAs), chemiluminescent assays, and in vitro neutralization assays. RESULTS: HCV-specific T cell proliferation and IFN-gamma production were more common in nonviremic EIA-positive IDUs (16 [94%] of 17 IDUs) than in viremic EIA-positive IDUs (9 [45%] of 20 IDUs) (P= .003). They were also noted in 16 (62%) of 26 nonviremic EIA-negative IDUs. In contrast, 19 (90%) of 21 viremic IDUs displayed neutralizing antibodies (nAbs), compared with 9 (56%) of 16 nonviremic EIA-positive IDUs (P= .04) and 0 of 24 nonviremic EIA-negative IDUs. Nonviremic IDUs with nAbs were older (P= .0115) than those without nAbs, but these groups did not differ in terms of either injection drug use duration or HCV-specific T cell responses. CONCLUSION: The reduced risk of HCV persistence in IDUs previously recovered from HCV infection correlated with T cell responses, and prolonged antigenic stimulation appears to be required to maintain humoral responses.