Approximately 70% of patients infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) develop chronic infections, which have been reported to be caused by impaired specific T-cell responses. Myeloid dendritic cells (mDCs) are important antigen-presenting cells that regulate T-cell responses, however their role during chronic hepatitis C (CHC) is not fully understood. In this study, we found that the ability of mDCs to stimulate T-cell responses was impaired in CHC patients. Furthermore, mDCs from CHC patients underwent apoptosis at a higher rate than mDCs from healthy donors. Nuclear factor-kappaB activity, which is critical for mDC function and apoptosis prevention, was diminished in mDCs from CHC patients. In conclusion, mDCs from CHC patients demonstrated functional changes with increased apoptosis, and diminished nuclear factor-kappaB activity. These changes may contribute to the impaired specific T-cell responses in CHC patients.
Copyright 2010 American Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.