Evidence for a relation between the viral load and genotype and hepatitis C virus-specific T cell responses

J Hepatol. 2004 Jun;40(6):971-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2004.02.002.


Background/aims: The reason why patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype non-1 infection respond better to antiviral therapy than patients with genotype 1 infection is not known. The aim of this study is to explore the relation between the viral genotype, viral load, and the endogenous T cell response.

Methods: The viral genotype, the viral load, and the endogenous proliferative T cell response to the non-structural 3 protein (NS3) was analysed using serum and peripheral blood mononuclear cells from 103 patients with chronic HCV infection.

Results: Among 71 nontreated patients a T cell response was more common among those infected by genotype 3, as compared to those infected with genotype 1 (P<0.05). Among 32 patients undergoing antiviral therapy, presence of a T cell response was more common in genotype non-1 infected patients than in those infected by genotype 1 (P<0.01). Presence of a T cell response was related to a more rapid viral clearance (P<0,05), a negative HCV RNA test at week 12 (P<0.05), and a shorter viral half-life (P<0.05).

Conclusions: The presence of an NS3-specific T cell response is related to the viral genotype and to a more rapid clearance of HCV RNA during antiviral therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Calcitriol / analogs & derivatives*
  • Calcitriol / therapeutic use
  • Genotype
  • Hepacivirus / genetics*
  • Hepacivirus / immunology*
  • Hepacivirus / physiology
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / drug therapy
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / immunology*
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / virology
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology*
  • RNA, Viral / genetics
  • RNA, Viral / isolation & purification
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Viral Load


  • 2-chloro-1-epicalcitriol
  • Antiviral Agents
  • RNA, Viral
  • Calcitriol