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Intrahepatic and peripheral blood virus-specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte activity is associated with a response to combination IFN-alpha and ribavirin treatment among patients with chronic hepatitis C virus infection.

Freeman AJ, Marinos G, Ffrench RA, Lloyd AR

  • Journal Journal of viral hepatitis

  • Published 20 Apr 2005

  • Volume 12

  • ISSUE 2

  • Pagination 125-9

  • DOI 10.1111/j.1365-2893.2005.00565.x


This report describes an association between intrahepatic and peripheral blood cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) activity present prior to receiving treatment, and a response to combination interferon-alpha (IFN-alpha) and ribavirin therapy for chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Recombinant vaccinia virus constructs were used to expand and detect cytotoxic effectors against the entire genotype 1a HCV polyprotein. Six patients with a sustained response to therapy were significantly more likely to display intrahepatic and peripheral blood HCV-specific CTL activity than patients who relapsed or had no treatment response. Limited longitudinal data suggested that rather than combination therapy acting to enhance the CTL response to achieve viral clearance, detectable CTL prior to treatment increases the likehood of the host responding to the direct antiviral activity of IFN-alpha and ribavirin.