Possible mechanism involving T-lymphocyte response to non-structural protein 3 in viral clearance in acute hepatitis C virus infection

Lancet. 1995 Oct 14;346(8981):1006-7. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(95)91691-1.


In acute hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection only 20-50% of patients spontaneously clear the virus. To characterise the immune reaction during that phase we studied the response of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) to the recombinant HCV proteins core, non-structural protein 3 (NS3), NS4, and NS5 in 14 patients with acute hepatitis C. All eight patients with self-limited disease compared with two of six with evolving chronic infection showed an NS3- specific PBMC response (p = 0.015). Of 65 patients with established chronic hepatitis C, five showed a PBMC response to NS3. NS3-specific CD4 T-cell clones from patients with self-limited infection predominantly produced interferon-gamma and may thus support cytotoxic effector mechanisms important for viral clearance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Viral / immunology
  • Genotype
  • Hepacivirus / genetics
  • Hepacivirus / immunology*
  • Hepatitis C / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / immunology
  • Middle Aged
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Viral Nonstructural Proteins / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Viral Nonstructural Proteins