Interferon-γ is produced by CD8+ T cells in response to HLA-A24-restricted hepatitis C virus epitopes after sustained virus loss

Koju Kobayashi, M. Ishii, M. Shiina, Y. Ueno, Y. Kondo, A. Kanno, Y. Miyazaki, T. Yamamoto, T. Kobayashi, H. Niitsuma, Y. Kikumoto, H. Takizawa, T. Shimosegawa

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Differences in cytotoxic T lymphocyte activity in hepatitis C virus infection may account for the outcome of interferon monotherapy. To investigate this hypothesis, we analysed the response of peripheral CD8+ T cells that recognized epitopes presented by HLA-A*2402. We synthesized HLA/β2-microglobulin/peptide complexes using two epitopes. Production of interferon-γ by CD8+ T cells in response to plastic-bound monomeric HLA/peptide complex was observed frequently in sustained virus responders (SVR) (n = 13) against all the peptides, NS31296-1304 (the percentage of responding patients, 61.5%) and core 129-137 (53.8%), while no interferon-γ production was observed in non-responders (NR) (n = 13) for any of the peptides. Tetramer-staining showed the presence of CD8+ T cells specific for all the peptides except NS31296-1304 in two SVR at the end of interferon monotherapy, although hardly any such cells were found in four NR. Specific killing was observed against peptides NS31296-1304 (3/4) and core 129-137 (1/4) in sustained responders but none in non-responders. These results suggest that the responses of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) were induced during interferon therapy in these patients and that interferon-γ production by CD8+ T lymphocytes against HCV NS31296-1304 and core 129-137 are well maintained in patients with SVR compared with those with NR. These findings emphasize the importance of the CD8+ T cell response in controlling HCV infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-88
Number of pages8
JournalClinical and Experimental Immunology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Jul


  • Cytotoxic
  • HLA-A24
  • Hepatitis C
  • Interferon-γ
  • T lymphocytes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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