Publications & Reports

Down-regulation of intra-hepatic T-cell signaling associated with GB virus C in a HCV/HIV co-infected group with reduced liver disease.

Berzsenyi MD, Woollard DJ, McLean CA, Preiss S, Perreau VM, Beard MR, Bowden DS, Cowie BC, Li, S, Mijch AM, Roberts SK
Department of Gastroenterology, Alfred Hospital, Commercial Road, Prahran, 3181 Victoria, Australia.


BACKGROUND & AIMS: Studies have shown that GB virus C (GBV-C) infection leads to reduced liver disease in hepatitis C virus (HCV)/human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) co-infection. Considering that the underlying mechanism(s) are unknown, we aim to identify differential gene and protein expression associated with GBV-C in HCV/HIV co-infection that may be responsible for reduced liver disease. METHODS: Liver, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), and plasma samples were collected from 43 HCV/HIV patients. Plasma was tested for GBV-C RNA by RT-PCR with NS5B gene primers. A microarray was performed on the liver and RT-qPCRs on the liver/PBMC samples. Hepatic protein expression was measured by immunohistochemistry. RESULTS: Sixteen out of 43 patients had GBV-C RNA. GBV-C was associated with reduced hepatic fibrosis (p=0.005) and inflammation (p=0.007). The microarray analysis of the liver samples (n=10) showed down-regulation of genes critical to intra-hepatic T-cell signaling associated with GBV-C. Quantitative RT-PCR of the liver samples (n=13) confirmed the down-regulation of lymphocyte-specific protein tyrosine kinase (LCK) (p=0.02) and docking protein 2 (DOK2) (p=0.04). No differences in the expression levels of these genes were observed in PBMCs (n=22) according to the GBV-C status. The hepatic expression of the LCK protein, measured by immunohistochemistry (n=36), was decreased in CD3-positive T-cells within portal tracts associated with GBV-C (p=0.003). This remained significant in multivariate analysis controlling for hepatic fibrosis and inflammation (p=0.027). No differences were observed in plasma cytokine concentrations (n=25) or ex-vivo peripheral T-cell responses (n=13) versus GBV-C status. CONCLUSIONS: GBV-C infection is associated with down-regulation of critical genes involved in intra-hepatic T-cell signaling in HCV/HIV co-infection. This may be relevant to the pathogenesis of reduced HCV-related liver disease in HIV co-infection.


  • Journal: Journal of Hepatology
  • Published: 01/09/2011
  • Volume: 55
  • Issue: 3
  • Pagination: 536-544