Altered helper T lymphocyte function associated with chronic hepatitis B virus infection and its role in response to therapeutic vaccination in humans. (1/1741)

Theradigm-hepatitis B virus (HBV) is an experimental lipopeptide vaccine designed to stimulate induction of HBV-specific CTL responses in HLA-A2 individuals. Previous studies had demonstrated high immunogenicity in healthy volunteers, but comparatively weak CTL responses in chronically infected HBV patients. Herein, we examined helper T lymphocyte (HTL) responses in chronically infected patients. Despite normal proliferation and IL-2 secretion, IL-12 and IFN-gamma secretion in vitro in response to the vaccine was reduced compared with healthy volunteers. A similar pattern of cytokine secretion was observed following mitogen stimulation, suggesting a general altered balance of Th1/Th2 responses. Further analysis indicated that HTL recall responses to whole tetanus toxoid protein were reduced in chronically infected subjects, and reduced responsiveness correlated with the outcome of Theradigm-HBV immunization. Finally, experiments in HBV transgenic mice indicated that the nonnatural Pan DR HTL epitope, PADRE, is capable of inducing high levels of IFN-gamma secretion and that its inclusion in a lipopeptide incorporating an immunodominant Ld-restricted CTL epitope resulted in breaking tolerance at the CTL level. Overall, our results demonstrate an alteration in the quality of HTL responses induced in chronically infected HBV patients and suggest that use of a potent HTL epitope may be important to overcome CTL tolerance against specific HBV Ags.  (+info)

HBV-specific immune defect in chronic hepatitis B (CHB) is correlated with a dysregulation of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines. (2/1741)

The aim of this study was to examine the immunomodulating effects of rhIL-12 on the immune response induced by hepatitis B virus (HBV) antigens in clinical subgroups of patients with HBV infection. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) of 80 patients were stimulated with HBsAg, HBcAg, pre-S1Ag and tetanus toxoid in the absence or presence of IL-12 (0.01, 0.1 and 1 ng/ml). Stimulation by anti-CD3+ anti-CD28 and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) were used as controls. Proliferation and cytokine production were determined by 3H-thymidine uptake and ELISA after 72 h. After stimulation with HBV antigens only, production of tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) or IL-10 was observed in all patients, while interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) was detectable in only 27 patients. After costimulation with IL-12 and HBV antigens, however, large amounts of IFN-gamma were found in all patients, while HBV-induced IL-10 production remained mostly unchanged. When clinical subgroups including patients with compensated liver cirrhosis were compared, PBMC from patients with HBeAg+ hepatitis showed the lowest capacity to produce IFN-gamma after HBV antigen-positive IL-12. These data suggest that the ability of IL-12 to enhance IFN-gamma production against HBV antigens is correlated with the presence of HBeAg and is not impaired in patients with advanced liver disease. In addition, IL-12 and IL-10 production by antigen-presenting cells may be a critical factor that determines the efficacy of the immune response against the hepatitis B virus.  (+info)

High mobility group (HMG) non-histone chromosomal proteins HMG1 and HMG2 are significant target antigens of perinuclear anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies in autoimmune hepatitis. (3/1741)

BACKGROUND: High mobility group (HMG) non-histone chromosomal proteins HMG1 and HMG2 have been identified as novel antigens of perinuclear anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (p-ANCAs), and the existence of anti-HMG1 and anti-HMG2 antibodies in a population of patients with ulcerative colitis has been reported. AIMS: To investigate whether HMG1 and HMG2 are target antigens for p-ANCAs in autoimmune hepatitis (AIH). PATIENTS: Serum samples from 28 patients with AIH, 44 patients with primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), 27 patients with chronic hepatitis C, and 23 patients with chronic hepatitis B were tested. METHODS: ANCAs were detected by routine indirect immunofluorescence (IIF). Anti-HMG1 and anti-HMG2 antibodies were assayed by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay. RESULTS: p-ANCAs were detected in 89% (25/28) of patients with AIH, 36% (16/44) of patients with PBC, 11% (3/27) of patients with chronic hepatitis C, and 13% (3/23) of patients with chronic hepatitis B. Anti-HMG1 and/or anti-HMG2 antibodies were detected in 89% (25/28) of patients with AIH, 70% (31/44) with PBC, 26% (7/27) with chronic hepatitis C, and 9% (2/23) with chronic hepatitis B. In AIH, anti-HMG1 and/or anti-HMG2 antibodies were detected in 96% (24/25) of p-ANCA positive patients. The p-ANCA staining pattern detected by IIF using sera from patients with AIH disappeared or decreased in titre after preincubation with a mixture of HMG1/HMG2. The presence and titres of those antibodies in AIH correlated significantly with those of p-ANCA, but not with those of anti-nuclear antibody or anti-smooth muscle antibody. CONCLUSIONS: HMG1 and HMG2 are significant target antigens of p-ANCA in AIH.  (+info)

High prevalence of TT virus infection in healthy children and adults and in patients with liver disease in Taiwan. (4/1741)

A newly identified DNA virus, named TT virus (TTV), was found to be related to transfusion-associated hepatitis. We conducted the following experiments to evaluate its pathogenic role in liver disease and potential modes of transmission. We used PCR to detect TTV DNA in serum. The rates of TTV viremia in 13 patients with idiopathic acute hepatitis, 14 patients with idiopathic fulminant hepatitis, 22 patients with chronic hepatitis, and 19 patients with cirrhosis of the liver were 46, 64, 55, and 63%, respectively, and were not significantly different from those in 50 healthy control subjects (53%). PCR products derived from seven patients with liver disease and three healthy controls were cloned and then subjected to phylogenetic analyses, which failed to link a virulent strain of TTV to severe liver disease. TTV infection was further assessed in an additional 148 subjects with normal liver biochemical tests, including 30 newborns (sera collected from the umbilical cord), 23 infants, 16 preschool children, 21 individuals of an age prior to that of sexual experience (aged 6 to 15 years), 15 young adults (aged under 30 years), and 43 individuals older than 30 years. The rates of TTV viremia were 0, 17, 25, 33, 47, and 54%, respectively. These findings suggest that TTV is transmitted mainly via nonparenteral daily contact and frequently occurs very early in life and that TTV infection does not have a significant effect on liver disease.  (+info)

Quantitative analysis of hepatitis B virus precore mutant in hepatitis type B. (5/1741)

Active liver disease has been detected in chronic hepatitis B after seroconversion from positive HBe antigen to positive anti-HBe antibody. Active replication of HB virus (HBV) containing a precore stop-codon mutation has been implicated in this condition. The usual methods, such as direct sequencing, to characterize the responsible mutant of HBV are not suitable for routine clinical use. Here we employed the competitive mutation site specific assay (CMSSA) to detect precore mutant HBV-DNA in patients with positive HB surface antigen. In patients with HBe antigen, precore mutant HBV-DNA was significantly higher than in patients with HBe antibody. The level of precore mutant HBV-DNA in patients with elevated serum ALT was significantly higher than in patients with normal serum ALT. Sex, age and the level of serum HBV-associated DNA polymerase levels were not correlated with levels of precore mutant HBV-DNA. Ten of 11 negative patients for the precore mutant by polymerase chain reaction followed by restriction fragment length polymorphism assay (PCRRFLP) were positive for the precore mutant by CMSSA. These results suggest that the precore mutant has already emerged in the HBeAg-positive phase as determined by CMSSA, which is more sensitive than PCR-RFLP and is useful for evaluating the clinical course of patients with chronic hepatitis B.  (+info)

Expression of Th1 and Th2 type cytokines responding to HBsAg and HBxAg in chronic hepatitis B patients. (6/1741)

The cytokine pattern on viral antigen recognition is believed to exert a profound influence on the resolution of viral infections and viral clearance. This study was initiated to investigate whether a cytokine imbalance oriented toward Th2 type response plays a role in chronic hepatitis B. Cytokine profiles of peripheral blood mononuclear cells associated with chronic hepatitis B were analysed by RT-PCR. Upon HBsAg stimulation, expression of IFN-gamma, IL-2, IL-4, and IL-10 was detected in 41%, 8%, 41%, and 50% of the patients, respectively. Among these cytokines, the expression of IFN-gamma was associated with high levels of serum AST/ALT. However, we could not prove that Th2 type cytokines had a protective effect on hepatocytes. Upon HBxAg stimulation, there was no recognizable association of cytokine patterns with AST/ALT levels. In conclusion, production of a Th1 cytokine, IFN-gamma, by HBsAg-reactive cells was associated with hepatocyte damage in chronic hepatitis B, while no counteracting effect of Th2 cytokines produced by those cells was observed.  (+info)

Hepatitis B surface antigen disappearance and hepatitis B surface antigen subtype: a prospective, long-term, follow-up study of Japanese residents of Okinawa, Japan with chronic hepatitis B virus infection. (7/1741)

To determine the natural course of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) disappearance in chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and the factors related to its disappearance, 946 HBsAg carriers in Okinawa, Japan were prospectively followed for up to 19 years (mean = 9.2 years). The disappearance of HBsAg, as determined by radioimmunoassay (RIA), was observed in 62 (6.6%) and the overall annual disappearance rate was 0.79%/year. Its disappearance was more frequent in 60 (7.4%) of 815 serum samples negative for hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) by RIA at entry compared with only two (1.5%) of 131 serum samples that were HBeAg positive by RIA at entry (P < 0.05). Stepwise logistic regression analysis showed that age and HBsAg subtype were significantly associated with HBsAg disappearance (both P < 0.05), and that carriers with subtype adr (odds ratio = 2.87) had an increased probability of clearing HBsAg compared with carriers with subtype adw. Conversely, HBeAg disappearance was earlier in those with the adw subtype than in those with adr. Hepatitis B virus DNA was not detected by the polymerase chain reaction after HBsAg disappearance in any of the 62 from whom it had disappeared. The HBsAg titer, as measured by reverse passive hemagglutination, was related to the time to its disappearance; the higher the titer, the longer the time to disappearance. These findings suggest that HBeAg negativity, a more advanced age, and low titers of HBsAg are favorable factors for HBsAg disappearance in the natural course of chronic HBV infection. Moreover, HBsAg subtype adr was a predictive factor for HBsAg disappearance, whereas subtype adw was predictive of early HBeAg disappearance.  (+info)

Specific vaccine therapy in chronic hepatitis B: induction of T cell proliferative responses specific for envelope antigens. (8/1741)

In a pilot study, it was established that specific therapy by standard anti-hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccination may be effective in reducing HBV replication and canceling the immune tolerance to hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) particles in about 50% of persons with chronic active HBV replication. In the present study, the vaccine-induced immune responses were analyzed during an ongoing controlled multicenter vaccine trial. Vaccination elicited peripheral blood mononuclear cell proliferative responses specific for envelope antigen in 7 of 27 subjects given HBsAg. The responses induced by the vaccines were mediated by CD4+ T lymphocytes, and at least three different epitopes were recognized. HBV-specific CD4+ T lymphocytes produced high levels of interferon-gamma [corrected] and belonged to a T helper 1 subset. Reduction of serum HBV DNA in some of these persons suggests that induction of CD4+ T cell responses could be important in controlling viremia during vaccine therapy of chronic HBV carriers.  (+info)