Comparison of cytotoxic T-lymphocyte responses to hepatitis C virus core protein in uninfected and infected individuals

J Med Virol. 1999 Jul;58(3):239-46. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1096-9071(199907)58:3<239::aid-jmv9>;2-v.


Cytotoxic T lymphocytes have been implicated in the control of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Recognition by cytotoxic T lymphocytes of epitopes within HCV core protein has been defined previously by in vitro stimulation with synthetic peptides. The aim of this study has been to examine cytotoxic T-lymphocyte responses generated against peptides produced naturally following intracellular processing of viral protein. Antigen-specific cytotoxic T-lymphocyte lines were generated from both HCV uninfected and infected individuals by culturing CD8+ T cells with autologous dendritic cells loaded intracytoplasmically with recombinant HCV core protein. Analysis of the epitopes recognized by core protein-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes used synthetic peptides that were selected based on their predicted binding to HLA-A*0201 molecules. Core protein-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes derived from HCV uninfected and infected individuals were able to lyse autologous target cells pulsed with each of 5 predicted epitopes. Generation of HCV-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes using dendritic cells as antigen presenting cells provides a method of comparing the potential repertoire of cytotoxic T-lymphocyte responses to the responses that occur in chronically infected individuals. No evidence of a qualitatively different response by patient cytotoxic T lymphocytes was apparent which might explain persistence of the virus.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cytotoxicity Tests, Immunologic
  • Epitopes / chemistry
  • Epitopes / immunology
  • Hepacivirus / immunology*
  • Hepatitis C / immunology*
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / immunology
  • Humans
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / cytology
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / virology
  • Viral Core Proteins / chemistry
  • Viral Core Proteins / immunology*


  • Epitopes
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I
  • Viral Core Proteins