• Phenotypic characterization of lymphocytes in HCV/HIV co-infected patients.

      Roe, Barbara; Coughlan, Suzie; Dean, Jonathan; Lambert, John S; Keating, Shay; Norris, Suzanne; Bergin, Colm; Hall, William W; Centre for Research in Infectious Diseases, University College Dublin, Ireland. (2009-02)
      While hepatitis C virus (HCV)-specific immune responses are attenuated in HCV/HIV co-infected patients compared to those infected with HCV alone, the reasons for this remain unclear. In this study, the proportions of regulatory, naïve, and memory T cells, along with chemokine receptor expression, were measured in co-infected and mono-infected patients to determine if there is an alteration in the phenotypic profile of lymphocytes in these patients. HCV/HIV co-infected patients had increased proportions of CD4(+) naïve cells and decreased proportions of CD4(+) effector cells when compared to HCV mono-infected patients. The proportions of CD4(+) Tregs and CD4(+) CXCR3(+) T cells were also significantly lower in co-infected patients. A decrease in CD4(+) Tregs and subsequent loss of immunosuppressive function may contribute to the accelerated progression to liver disease in co-infected individuals. Dysregulation of immune responses following reduction in the proportions of CD4(+) CXCR3(+) Th-1 cells may contribute to the reduced functional capacity of HCV-specific immune responses in co-infected patients. The findings of this study provide new information on the T-cell immunophenotype in HCV/HIV co-infected patients when compared to those infected with HCV alone, and may provide insight into why cell-mediated immune responses are diminished during HCV infection.