The immune tolerant phase of chronic HBV infection: new perspectives on an old concept

Cell Mol Immunol. 2015 May;12(3):258-63. doi: 10.1038/cmi.2014.79. Epub 2014 Sep 1.


Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection progresses through distinct disease phases that are strongly associated with patient age. The so-called immune tolerant (IT) phase represents the classical early phase of infection; it is associated with high levels of HBV replication and lack of clinical signs of liver Inflammation. Whether this phase of HBV infection is also associated with immunological features of "tolerance' has recently been challenged. Here, we review the data that dispute this concept of immune tolerance and then propose an alternative interpretation of the immunopathological events that take place during this early phase of CHB infection.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Child
  • Disease Progression
  • Hepatitis B virus / physiology*
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immune Tolerance
  • Infant
  • Liver / immunology*
  • Liver / virology
  • Virus Replication